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MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS ;
&tt igtgtortc Urama,
IN FIVE ACTS,
BY ALBANY WALLACE, Esq.
PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR,
BY" WILLIAM VERRALL, ANN STREET.
v s 13
Elizabeth, Queen of England.
Mary, Queen of Scots.
or ma, / j^f a ^ enS) attendant on Queen Mary.
Sir Francis Walsingham, Secretary of State.
Davison, Private Secretary to Queen Elizabeth.
■c. , c Kent, Shrewsbury, Derby, } v ,. , T ,
Earlsof Cumberland, & Lord Buckhurst, \ Ln 3 hsh Lords -
Beale, Clerk of the Council.
Sir Christopher Hatton, Vice-Chamberlain.
Thomas Andrews, Esq. High Sheriff of Northamptonshire.
Sir Amias Paulett, } r, . ~ , T
Sir Drue Drury, \ Governors to & e ™ M^V-
Doctor Fletcher, Dean of Peterborough.
Sir William Keith, Ambassador from Scotland.
Monsieur Believre, Ambassador from France.
Sir Thomas Georges.
Sir Andrew Melvil, Master of the Household to Queen Mary.
Babington, Ballard, Savage, 3
Barnwell, Charnock, Abington, > Conspirators.
Tilney, Tichburn, and others, j
Gifford, a Priest, } c . r T „ , . ,
Maude, a Priest, \ S P m °f *Ta!«ngham.
Lords, Ladies, Pages, &c. &c.
The Scene is laid in London ; in Elizabeth's Palace; atChartlcy^
in Staffordshire ; and at Fotheringay, i?i Northamptonshire*
Note. — The following pages were not written for the Stage, but
as a companion in the Closet.
THE DEATH OF
MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS.
■■■ »»» ■ <« . .■ ■
THE DEATH OF
M&V& H&utm of gjcotg*
QUEEN MARY, GORDINA, AND ELVIRA.
EACH passing hour beholds me more infirm.
When will the day, the wishM-for day arrive,
To terminate the wretched Mary's woes :
My soul misgives me — a presentiment
As tho' a voice of deadly import spake,
Whispers the fatal day is not far hence. —
Your arm Gordina — these rheumatic pains
Increase apace, and warn me that ere long
Thou wilt be rid of such a bane as I:
Then grudge me not thy aid, for nature sinks:
And tho' Elizabeth should still delay
Awhile to cut my feeble thread of life,
And leave Decay my executioner ;
I feel Death soon will ease her of the foe
She hath herself up-rais'd — nay, tho' she do't,
I will not curse her — she'll befriend me more
By such a deed of foul ingratitude,
Than all the noble Lords and Gentlemen,
Who have sold life to serve me. Woe, alas !
Weep with me maidens, to behold the change
That nineteen years captivity have wrought, —
Unjust captivity ! the woful fruit
*Of yon proud bastard's breach of confidence :
Who dreading my more lawful pedigree,
Took 'vantage of mine inexperience,
Arid gave me shelter in the lion's den.
When I came here, deluded by the arts,
And proffered friendship of Elizabeth,
I bloom'd in all the pride of healthful youth ;
And I was flatter'd, or my beauty shone
Unrival'd in the Scotch or English court :
Then vigour was the comrade at my side,
And buoyant spirits lit my hazel eye :
I was the admiration of mankind !
* Queen Mary having called Elizabeth a Bastard and J
Usurper, was an affront that Princess never could forget.
And to no monarch had I sued in vain,
Where e'er my will had prompted me to fly
To ask for aid, or a protecting home,
Whose heart acknowledged human sympathy ;
And like a fool I plunged into the arms
Of this foul tigress ; whose extended jaws
Were stretch'd to cracking, to devour me.
And now how chang'd — oh ! sad, oh ! keen reverse,
Flown are my charms, my buoyant spirits gone :
Health, my fair hand-maid, by confinement scared,
Has long deserted, and her mistress left
A prey to anguish, and to fell disease ;
And fled too distant ever to return.
But let not Mary censure HeavVs ways ;
Or question God's inscrutable decrees,
Which are intended for our benefit ;
Tho' we short-sighted mortals cannot scan
Whence the vicissitudes of Fortune spring ;
Or penetrate the mysteries above.
Yet it is hard in silence to endure
The monstrous injuries I'm doom'd to bear.
Oh ! when will Fate her rav'ning appetite
Have glutted with a captive monarch's woe ?
When will the cup lost Mary's doom'd to drain,
Be empty of the measure of her ills !
Madam, be tranquil, unavailing tears
Serve only to increase your malady.
The sacred person of your majesty
Is safe in England, altho' captive held ;
Elizabeth will never dare to harm
A Princess of your highness's great name ;
Of her own kindred, and a Scottish queen ? —
How could she shield herself from obloquy ?
O ! she has art enough for any thing ;
I feel no safety in her friendly word ;
^Tis but a cloak to hide her treachery :
I've hope no longer in Elizabeth :
Nay, did she offer to befriend my cause,
Scarce could I brook to be obliged to her.
But hark ! who comes, for footsteps sure approach :
Go, learn Gordina, who th* intruder is ?—
I have a strange presentiment of ill,
And ev'ry noise alarms me —
Good, my liege,
Yield not to terrors so unmeet as these ;
Confinement and ill health are apt to breed
Vain fantasies that undermine the soul.
I prithee, madam, to dismiss such fears.
Here is a letter for your Majesty —
Belike it comes from some of your good friends.
If I may judge by who the post-man is.
Ah ! who Gordina, can be Mary's friend ? —
I doubt but it contains some evil news.
Who is the messenger ?
The brewer, madam,
Who thus in secret brings it to your hand
Thro* a small chink in yonder aged walk
I'll none of it — for if 'tis from a friend,
His friendship sure will prove a mortal foe ;
If from a foeman, it will drive me mad,
To be insulted in my misery.
Therefore return it —
And yet pause awhile-
Fain would I know the matter it contains —
No — I'll resist my curiosity —
There, take it away.
And whither take it ?— -
For the bearer fled when he had dropt it
It would be dangerous, your Majesty,
To leave it for a chance peruser's eye.
Why am I forced to read whatever they list ? —
Well ! fate ordains it, therefore give it me.
(aside to Gordina)
I fear me its contents are troublesome :
Mark, how the Queen contracts her royal brow.
Let us withdraw and leave her to herself.
Our observation may perhaps offend.
(they retire to the back ground.)
What do I see ! — why here's another plot
To rescue Mary, and destroy the Queen.
But Mary'll take no part in such a scheme.
No, I'll befriend Elizabeth, my foe,
And send her note of this conspiracy.
I'll have no hand in my oppressor's death ;
But leave to Heaven to requite her ill —
Yet hold — 'twould be ungentle to betray
These noble friends, who venture life for me :
Can I resolve to humble to the block,
Such knightly gentlemen as Babington,
And doughty Barnwell of the em'rald isle ?
Who both profess their readiness to serve,
And free me from the prison where I'm held ;
And held unjustly by this tyrant Queen ;
Who is at best a foul-mouth'd heretic,
And curst oppressor of the innocent.
It cannot be but life be sacrificed,
Whate'er the tide of this conspiracy :
The Queen must die, or these good gentlemen—
There's no alternative : but which is best,
To let a heretic, or christian fall ?
And sure the lives of eight good catholics,
Preponderate against one sinful Queen.
She who in spite of Heaven and the cross,
Hath spum'd the holy office of the Pope,
(Who is to all intents and purposes,
The Representer of our Lord on Earth)
Denied that he is here Christ's Vicar sent ;
And swerved unblushing from the true belief:
Is she the one that I should rescue now,
E'en tho' my own life hung not in the scale ? —
Which as it does, I should be more than mad
To crush myself, and aid religion's fall,
By acting with unwonted treachery.
No — reason doth herself point out the course
The wretched Mary must in this pursue.
Could I save life, Heav'n knows how willingly
I'd stretch my hand to this Elizabeth :
But as it must be that a life be lost,
Let the axe fall upon the guilty head.
I've had no hand in raising this cabal,
And must continue my neutrality ;
Altho' I reap the good of its success.
Sure this is lawful in our church's eye,
Which is so undisguisedly attack'd,
We must in secret aid her followers.
And 3 et I tremble at the thought of blood— •
What if I should decline to interfere,
And wash my hands of this conspiracy ?
Or threaten them with making known the plot,
And bringing all to condign punishment,
Unless they do abandon the design ? —
Will it avail ? — and wherefore should it not ? —
Yet wherefore should it ? — is it probable
The disapproval of a wretch like me,
Can stay the hand of heroes such as these,
Who brave a scaffold for the cross of Christ ? —
Or that a threat of breach of confidence,
Will overcome their desperate resolves ?
No — they may own indeed my scruple's weight,
And promise to conform accordingly ;
To lull my conscience into quietude ;
But will they do it ? — oh ! absurd's the thought :
I am not vain or credulous enough
To think this stir is made alone for me,
A wretched captive, shorn of my renown ;
Bereft of pow'r to recompense a friend ;
Or punish foeman for his enmity :
There is another, and a greater cause,
Has rais'cl this faction 'gainst Elizabeth •
Which my faint voice in vain would over-rule.
They may exclude me from its benefit ;
And banter at me for a canting fool ;
Tell me they've listen'd to my argument,
And leave me then to mine adversity :
But will they be so pusillanimous
To let a woman frighten their intent ? —
And leave Religion, for my sake, to fall ?
I, who should be her stanchest advocate,
And should deserve to die a heretic,
To mar, for England's-Queen, her interests.
There is no option left me in the case,
But such as would be infamous to take :
Therefore I needs must bow to Heav'n's will,
And leave to God the conduct of this cause :
Letting my silence and my impotence,
Be sole abettors and confederates ;
And standing neuter in the whole affair.
Be silent on the subject of this note.
And if again another should be dropM,
Convey it instant to thy mistress' hand.
I will not fail, your majesty.
I will betake me to my oratory,
And pray for all things ending for the best.
Give orders that I may not be disturb'd.
ENTER SAVAGE AND BALLARD.
( the latter in the disguise of Captain Fortescue)
What think ye now of this great enterprise ? —
Have we not organiz'd the matter well,
And rendered sure its dire accomplishment ?
We wait but for the answer of the Queen,
Whom it is meet we make a confidant,
Tho' now bereft of pow'r and influence ;
For times may come when she can serve us well ;
And her misfortunes make good argument,
And win the hearts of numbers to our cause,
Whose conscience otherwise might trouble them.
Has Gifford seen this hapless Scotch princess,
And made communion of our business ?
He has conveyed a letter to the Queen.
And waits her answer ? —
Ay, but that is sure.
She cannot choose but aid us in a cause,
Wherein her freedom is the point in view.
Of that Pm not so sure : should we be lost
By coupling so many in our scheme,
The ruin may alone be at your door.
I could myself have slain Elizabeth
Without the aid of any other hand ;
And then have claimed unshared, of such a work
The honor, and the glory, all my own.
Thou know'st full well my solemn vow, good friend»
And that to England's realms alone I came,
To compass that arch-heretic's demise,
Who rules in Britain with a rod of steel,
To the subversion of our ancient creed ;
When the fair promises of thee, and thine,
And a good catholic's captivity,
Regardless of the danger I incur'd,
Bade me inlist as comrade in thy cause :
In the sweet hope of sowing o'er the land,
The true belief of our degraded church ;
And hurling from her throne that haughty Queen,
Whose blasphemy will else infect the world.
And by good watching we'll secure her fall.
The more our friends, the surer our success.
Nay, I've a vow as well as thou, good friend,
Which brought me from my holy home at Rheims,
Here in disguise as Captain Fortescue,
To labour in the self-same business.
You need not fear concerting with such men,
As Charnock ; and the wealthy Derby squire,
Good Master Babington, of Dethic lord :
Together with the ancient cofferer's son
The knightly Abington, of courage tried.
There is no doubt with such associates :
I'd pawn my soul upon the enterprise,
I feel so sure of its entire success.
I will confess it has a hopeful air,
And as you say, my holy Sir, that God
Can never fail to aid us in the cause,
That frees his own true servant, Scotland's queen
From yon foul heretic's disgraceful bonds,
I am induced to think success more sure ;
I only do lament that / alone
Am not to claim the merit of a deed,
Which must immortalize the doer's name.
It will immortalize our ev'ry name,
At once for faith, for hope, for charity —
For faith, because it is religion's cause ; —
For hope, because it shows our confidence ; —
For charity, because it frees a queen,
A beauteous princess, long a captive held,
Abandon'd by her people, and the world,
(Whose throne's usurp'd by her own lawful son,)
From a cursed rival's hated custody.
And yet there are foul whisperings abroad,
Touching the honor of this Scottish Queen,
Which if but true —
They're false, they're false I say,
The foul aspersions of her enemies ;
And most of all, of this Elizabeth,
For pretext to detain her rival here.
But were they true, still she's a catholic,
And of the church may absolution claim.
So, holy father, doth thy creed announce, —
I cry your pardon — Captain Fortescue ! —
I did forget the Priest's a soldier now,
Or I had styled you, gallant gentleman !
The Priest and Soldier have been oft combined,
Bethink ye of the time of the crusades,
When the Knight-Templar both fought and prayed.
And wherefore should he not ? — I see no cause —
So, reverend soldier, still do you maintain
The character befitting your degree ;
Altho' the Cassoc you have laid aside,
And strut in Breeches like a general ;
Which, or the world belies her, your fair Queen,
Likes full as well as any garment else.
She's but a woman, and like woman frail,
And most prefer a soldier to a priest ;
But for aught else, I know her virtuous,
Replete with grace, and holiest desires ;
And well deserving of deliverance.
So she has proved — since holy 'tis to wed,
Wedlock's desires become a holy grace ;
And that she loves them, has been duly proved,
By having had three husbands to her share.
A truce to ribaldry, it ill-befits
A moment of such vital consequence.
Poor Mary's woes surpass what man can think :
And tho' a shade may shroud her character,
J Tis not our business to examine it.
She's needful to our cause, and that's enough :
Therefore what sin soe'er she may have done,
We must be blind to her licentiousness,
And see her only, a good catholic.
I see her only as our needful friend,
Nor wish to meddle with her levities ;
Yet should I like in confidence to learn
The true account of her unhappy life,
Of which I've only parts by snatches heard,
And those but indistinct and dubious.
You know she was in early life espoused
To Francis, Dauphin of the French domain,
And left a widow ev'n at nineteen years.
She was the daughter of King James the Fifth,
By Margaret, daughter of our English King
The seventh Harry, and in right of her,
This Scottish Princess claim'd the English throne:
*And founded her pretensions on the Will
Of the Eighth Henry, Elizabeth's late sire,
* Nothing could be more unjust or tyrannical than this insin-
uation of Henry VIII.
Wherein he terms her illegitimate :
And hence it was that enmity sprung up,
Between these rival female potentates.
After the Dauphin's death, her first young spouse,
The Scottish Queen returnM to reign at home ;
But being tutored in a foreign court,
Her manners ill accorded with the Scotch ;
And forthwith altercations soon arose,
Between the Queen, and the reforming sect ;
Who to protect herself from their rude zeal,
Espoused in second marriage Darnley's lord,
Son to the Earl of Lennox, and her own
True cousin-german, twenty years of age :
But in selecting this young nobleman,
She only had an eye to outward grace ;
And disregarded mental qualities :
He proved a jealous fool, and drove her mad.
And so she blew him up at Kirk-of-Field,
For slaying her gallant, poor Rizzio.
That he was blown up is indeed most true,
But that she did it, is without all proof.
And for this Rizzio, she loved his voice,
But as for other love, 'tis scandal all.
Her friends say one thing, and her foes another, —
But let it pass — next comes the ravishment.—
That's a true tale — but how was she to blame ? —
Bothwell by force convey'd her to Dunbar ;
And having there accomplished his design,
The only remedy the Queen had left,
Was by a marriage to annul the shame;
Yet, such was the injustice of the realm,
Her subjects arm'd against her, and Lord Hume
Heading a body of eight hundred horse,
Surprised them both in Borthwick tow'r :
Whence they escaped, and the Lord Bothwell then
Met the conspirators near Edinborough,
With a few forces hastily convened ; —
They soon obliged him to capitulate,
He saught the Orkneys, thence to Denmark fled,
Where ten years after he a captive died.
Whilst Mary, mid'st the hooting populace,
They hurried to the Capital ; and thence,
To old Lochleven's isle-protected fort ;
Where they confined her a close prisoner.
Now was it that Elizabeth stood forth,
And call'd herself her ancient rival's friend ;
Sending Sir Nicholas Throgmorton o'er,
To interpose in their lost Queen's behalf:
But to no purpose, for she was deposed,
And James her infant son proclaim'd as King :
Whilst Murray, during' his minority,
Was forthwith named as Regent of the realm.
With the assistance of a youthful friend,
One Douglas, a right worthy gentleman,
Mary escaped from old Lochleven tow'r :
And when the news of her enlargement spread,
Her people's loyalty once more revived ;
And a few days beheld her at the head
Of full six thousand valliant followers.
The Earl of Murray instantly took field,
And fought a bloody battle at Langside,
Wherein the Queen was totally undone,
Her forces being slain or put to flight.
She therefore fled to England, there to claim
The proffered friendship of Elizabeth ;
Who when apprised of her arrival, sent
The Lady Scrope to pay her all respect ;
But under various pretences strove
All personal communion to postpone,
Until the Scottish princess should have clear'd
Her blasted character, from those foul stains,
With which report had spotted it — for this
She bow'd her pride to an inquiry —
Or rather to a mock inquiry —
Whereby the foul aspersions of her foes,
Were made appear with double circumstance.
In nothing seeing that she could prevail,
The hapless Mary askM for liberty
To seek in France a trial of her friends ;
But wily Bess knew better than to yield :
Now she had caught the falcon in her snare,
She was resolved to keep her prisoner ;
And sent her guarded straight to Tutbury :
To Chartly thence, after some other moves,
Where still she is in durance vile detain'd.
It boots not now to recapitulate
The sorrows of her long imprisonment ;
These are the heads of her unhappy tale.
But there have been attempts to rescue her !
There have, but all have faiPd, and nothing now
Can save her but Elizabeth's demise:
And after nineteen years captivity,
Who can condemn her if she strikes a blow ?- —
But hark ! who comes —
'Tis GifFord I opine —
If so he brings us letters from the Queen.
Well Sir, what news ? —
The Queen has well received
The Lord of Dethic's proffered services :
And I now hasten with all meet dispatch,
To bear the tidings of my embassy.
^Tis well — now may usurping Bessy shake
Amid'st the splendor of her royalty :
Her tott'ring throne shall soon be overturned ;
And all those heretics who foster her,
May tremble at the vengeance of the just.
Now is the fagot and the fire prepared,
Whose smould'ring flame so soon shall fiercely
To scorch the vitals of these human fiends.
I long to scent the adour of their lungs :
Can nostril of the catholic inhale
A sweeter, than a roasted heretic !
I go to seek out Maude, thy true ally,
We must not dally, there's no time to lost
Mean-time do you repair to Babington's
Where I will meet you in an hour hence.
We go at your command, and holy priest
Do thank sincerely your integrity.
And you, good father, no less holy Sir,
Are no less worthy of my gratitude ;
We have a mutual source for thankfulness.
Let's waste no time in empty compliment,
But haste to business without delay.
[Exeunt Savage and Ballard.
Thus far my stratagems go swimmingly ;
And wily Gifford shall be kept afloat,
Whate'er the tide of this conspiracy.
I have two Queens to pay my industry,
And surely one will turn up trumps at last.
Is not the money of a heretic
Of equal weight as one of the true-faith ? —
And why should not the unbeliever's gold
Be well employ 'd, and pay a popish priest ?
But wherefore pay him ! — not for his good faith
In that good cause, which would promote good
But for good faith, against the very cause,
That would good faith throughout the land, restore!
How is this Gifford ? — what art thou about ? —
Has the foul fiend, as with Iscariot,
Allured thee from thy truth with filthy gold }
Why yes — but then a portion of that gold,
May buy indulgence for my infamy.
If we were ev'ry one immaculate,
The Church had needed no indulgences :
'Tis clear we were intended all to err,
Or wherefore suffer pains and penalties ? —
The church to manifest her mercy's proud,
And doth take pleasure to be merciful ;
But to be merciful, it needs must be,
That we do put her mercy to the proof:
Now, can we put that mercy to the test,
Unless we do what mercy may require ?
She might as well be merciless, if we
Do rob her of the pow'r to mercy show :
If to show mercy is her greatest love,
How can she hate the opportunities,
That yield the means to gratify that love ?
And in proportion as the crime be great,
So is the grace of her forgiveness too.
There is in heaven more rejoicing known
Over one sinner truly penitent,
Than over ninety-nine just persons, who
By their strict conduct no repentance need.
He who anticipates repentance then,
Repenting two-fold, two-fold grace may hope ;
Therefore Above, there'll be the greatest joy,
When my repentance shall be there made known,
Since it is two-fold, tW two-fold's my crime —
Because it will to Heav'n the pow'r afford,
To show two-fold the mercy she so loves.
Thus it must be — I know no other creed —
Or if I do, wherefore in fear shrink back,
When I can purchase pardon with the gold.
Pve gone beyond the power to recede ;
And must continue in the course commenced,
Whatever the perils I thereby incur.
So now for Walsingham, and trusty Maude :
These papers are for your eye as for ours.
Matters thus ripe admit of no delay.
ism> of <&tx m $\x$t.
THE DEATH OF
MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS.
ENTER SIR FRANCIS WALSINGHAM,
Secretary of State.
Each hour revolving serves but to confirm
My strong suspicion of some deep-laid plot.
For tho' apparently no stir's abroad ;
And peaceful silence smiles throughout the land ;
Tho' foes are kept-down by the arm of pow'r ;
And friends their midnight pillows tranquil press ;
Tho' all the surface of the sea is smooth ;
Yet do I hear a rumbling underneath,
Which sounds portentous of some coming storm.
The sun may shine on his diurnal course
Of trackless ether, and soft zephyr's breath
But gently kiss the summit of the trees ;
And yet below the far horizon's verge,
Do lurk unseen full often threat'ning clouds,
Ready to rise, and suddenly o'ercast
The azure of the peaceful firmament :
Changing to discord, taciturnity.
Now those who read the fitful elements,
Can mark, howe'er unseen by other eye,
Uncertain streaks, and floating lineaments,
Which seem but to adorn the atmosphere ;
Whilst they are tokens of ethereal war.
And thus can I, in England's hemisphere,
See certain symptoms of approaching strife,
Altho' her sky be cloudless — meetings held
By star-gazers at midnight's moonlight hour,
Do seem as if some Comet should appear,
Whose blaze must dazzle and confound the realm,
Drawing a train of myriad lights behind —
Consuming all that may oppose its course —
Turning to anarchy her present peace —
Disseminating chaos o'er the land —
Undoing what the reformation's done —
And bringing back the storm that's past away.
That some such comet is about to rise,
Admits no question ; but how, when, or where,
No signs do yet appear ; altho' the north,
Or that which comes from northward, I suspect.
That graceless rantipole, the Queen of Scots*
Has long-since been a thorn in England's side ;
And those of her persuasion, e'er alert
To raise dissensions for her benefit, —
Or rather, to promote their politics,
By making her the point of rallying :
But they shall find it difficult to gull
A wary head like that of Walsingham.
I have my planets wandering about,
And in due course shall know the time and place
In which 'tis said the new-star must appear;
And will take measures to prevent its rise —
Nay, I mistake, or in the instant comes
One of these satellites dsedalian.
I bring ye tidings of the ill afloat. —
And troth it is no less than ye suspect. —
There's a conspiracy deep laid to slay
The gracious Queen of this high-favor'd land ;
And to release the wanton dame, who fled
Her native shore, and sought protection here.
And what's your proof of such conspiracy ? —
These letters which I bring from Scotland's Queen,
Address'd, as you perceive, to Babington :
Which I thought meet, before convey'd to hand,
Just to unfold a moment to your eye.
(Walsingham takes the letters to read)
Now the deed's done — alas ! Fve pawn'd my soul,
And gold can only its redemption buy.
Who is this Captain Fortescue she names ? —
One Ballard, Sir, a Romish Priest from Rheims,
Who came to England with a deadly vow
To kill the Queen, and insurrection breed.
And Savage ? —
Another blood-hound of the same intent :
Who likewise vow'd to slay her majesty.
The rest seem gentlemen of good account ? —
As to estate, but not integrity.
Is this the CofPrer of the household's son ?
What Abington ? — the same. And Barnwell there,
Comes of good kin in Ireland, I hear.
Charnock and Babington are both well bred :
The first from Lancashire, of gentle blood ;
The last, of great estate in Derbyshire.
By name I know them, and had little thought
They would have risk'd their all in such a cause.
They're all deluded by that woman's arts,
Whose very subjects dragg'd her from a throne.
Ay, but there's more i' th' wind than Scotland's
Here's some dark hint of an invasion too.
That's to be after your good Queen's demise,
When Mary shall be free to do her best :
The only object now is England's blood.
When do you next commune with these good men ?
Within this hour at Babington's they meet.
And how long think ye will the council sit ?
Merely to read these letters, and arrange
The next procedure most expedient.
I'll to the Queen without a moment's pause,
And bid her know the danger now afloat.
Meantime do you dispatch one Maude, a Priest,
To bring me tidings when the council rise.
He is a friend of Captain Forlescue's ;
But wisely in the pay of Walsingham.
My worst suspicions are at length confirm'd ;
And good Queen Bess again in jeopardy :
But thanks to Heaven, and my watchfulness,
She'll spoil the sport these traitors meditate.
Such is the state of royal dignity ;
For ever treading on combustibles :
And when sweet Peace appears to reign secure,
A train of gunpowder's beneath her feet ;
Waiting alone till Fear be lull'd to sleep,
Or till her truant guards be off their post,
To suddenly explode, and ruin all;
Annihilating with combustion rude,
In one brief space, the toils of ages past.
And thus the public man who guides the state
Should be invested with a sleepless eye :
For there's no hour howe'er secure it seem,
In which with safety he may rest from toil ;
And to repose consign his care-worn brow :
The veriest hind that breathes beneath the sun,
And has not where to lay his hapless head,
Enjoys a lot of greater blessedness,
Than falls to him who guides the nation's helm :
And yet ambitious man, amid'st his pride,
Envies the wretch who merits pity most ;
Wh ilst on the really enviable lot,
He casts a glance of pity and contempt.
But for the Queen — my duty leads me there —
She must be roused, and wake as well as I.
Now do we think we may repose at ease,
Secure in our administration sage :
We have provided against ev'ry ill ;
And whilst our continental neighbours war,
We bask in England in the lap of peace :
Thanks to a woman's wisdom and foresight !
We now have gain'd our subjects' fervent love ;
And by the moderation of our sway,
Become respected by our enemies.
The popish faction dare not raise its head ;
The Scots are rid of their unruly Queen,
Whom here we hold in our safe custody ;
The Duke of Norfolk's in eternal rest ;
And all our people in prosperity.
If we had thoughts of matrimony still,
Now were meet time to consummate our wish :
But on that head we're so beset with fears,
Truly we know not which way to decide.
Like all our sex we must indeed confess,
We would not willingly a maiden die ;
And yet if once our freedom we resign,
We lose a jewel we may ne'er regain.
To share our power we could ne'er endure ;
And had we once a lawful wedded lord,
Who knows but he might meddle with the state,
And rob us of our own prerogative :
Which of all else we are right well resolved,
Still to preserve our own exclusively.
Marry, he might a doubtful question raise,
Whether his wife's prerogative as queen,
Had not been cancell'd by her marriage vow
In favor of her legal governor ;
And call her only true prerogative,
(As sanctioned by the holy canon law,)
Ji blind obedience to her husband 1 s will !
He might, puff'd-up with his new dignity,
Fancy it conduct pusillanimous,
To yield the sceptre to a female hand ;
And tho' we still might rule ostensibly,
Have really nothing but the name of Queen.
That wives forsooth should not the breeches wear,
He may in his false vanity contend ;
And when the first awe of a royal spouse,
May (as perchance in verity it may)
After some months of intercourse subside,
He'll be for strutting in them all alone,
And then begrudge us even the left leg !
Now, if we were a simple peasant's wife,
And born no higher than that low degree ;
Or were we consort to a nobleman,
And raised by him from indigence to rank,
We vow in either case we fain would thrust
At least one leg into his male attire :
But as we are a Queen, we ill could brook
Even that he should wear them turn-about :
They must be, like the royal realm we rule.
Unshared, unclaimed, exclusively our own :
For long have we resolv'd, if ere we wed,
(And there's no pow'r can change the high resolve)
That noble garment shall be ours alone :
Yes, as we are a woman, do we swear,
Both right and left leg shall the breeches wear.
Now should our husband prove a spoony fool,
And unresisting yield us this same garb ;
Such is the strange perverseness of our sex,
We feel we should despise him for an ass :
We should disdain to love a hen-peck'd man,
Altho' ourself might be the henpecker.
A man in petticoats ! — oh ! ludicrous ! —
We have no fancy for such bedfellow • —
No — he that we do honor for our lord,
Must be a very man to all intents,
And wear himself the garb of manliness.
Now, how can this be ? — since his wife has sworn
To claim that garment for herself alone ! —
Well — but suppose he should resist her claim,
And keep, in spite of her, the noble garb,
Might we not compromise, and each assume
The self-same habit we so much admire ? —
He then would still preserve what is his right —
And we should gain that which so much we love :
Why can it not be thus ? — why ! for one cause —
'T would breed dissensions 'twixt the manly pair j
And change our conjugal felicity,
To discord, and unmanner'd ribaldry.
There cannot be two masters — two may be great,
But both cannot be greatest — one must yield —
Now we will not be yielder — yet 'tis strange,
We have no fancy that our spouse should yield.
Here then it is we clash — If we should rule,
Our husband is no man to our mind ;
Should he do so, ourself is not to mind :
And matters standing thus, we cannot choose
But vegetate in single blessedness :
Altho' there's ne'er a maid beneath the sun,
Hath greater fancy for connubial joys ;
And lives there but a man can make agree
The paradox just now exemplified,
Of him Elizabeth will be the bride. —
How now Sir Francis — what's your business ?—
Why do you break upon our privacy ? —
My gracious liege ! to warn your Majesty,
Of that which it behoves your Grace to know.
There is a foul and dread conspiracy,
Now ripe for execution in the realm ;
Form'd by a band of most ungodly knaves,
Who setting at defiance, ev'ry tie
Of duty, honour, loyalty, and love,
Have coalesced, and wickedly resolved,
To raise their hands unhallowed, Against the life
Of God^s anointed representative ;
Thereby intending to overturn the state,
And overthrow the protestant belief.
God's death Sir Knight, what is it that we hear ! — .
Another plot against our royal life ! —
We thought we had secured our future peace,
By the sage laws which under heaven, we
In our own wisdom, with our council's aid,
Have judged expedient to enact, yet now
While basking in the very lap of ease,
About to reap the harvest of our toil,
And have a taste of sweet domestic joys,
Are we annoyed with new disturbances.
Now on our life we'd wager, 'tis again
Some conspiration of the papist Queen.
Speak Walsingham, have we not augured right ?
Your highness speaks with your long-proved fore.
*Tis a conspiracy wherein that Queen
And her adherents play an active part.
Yet not alone doth it arise with them.
There is one Ballard, a false popish priest,
Under the name of Captain Fortescue,
Has come to England to fulfil a vow,
Touching the compass of your highness' death.
And like him there's another monster here,
A desperado from the Low-Countries,
Whom they call Savage, and most meet the name,
Who with the same intent now treads our shore.
These have consorted with some men of note,
(I shame to say your grace's subjects born,)
The chief of whom is a young gentleman
Of noble fortune and good parentage,
Anthony Babington, of Dethick lord,
A Squire of some account in Derbyshire :
The next is Barnwell from the Irish shore.
Descended from long-standing ancestry :
Then Charnock, likewise of good family,
A native of some part of Lancashire :
Ned Abington the late Cofferer's son :
Charles Tilney, tho' your grace's pensioner :
One Chidcock Tichburn of Southampton town :
Did'st thou not say the Scottish homicide
Was at the bottom, yet you name her not ?
My liege her name was coming in due course.
But as your highness named her first yourself,
I hasted to her coadjutor's names,
Ere I made mention of her part therein.
But first we'll hear of her apostasy —
The dame we've cherish'd in our goodly realm,
And tho', us needed our security,
Placed under some indifferent restraint,
Yet treated by us as became her rank ;
And even sheltered from her rebel lords,
At peril of our realm's tranquillity : —
For her to suffer rankling jealousy,
So to o'ercome our sex's gentleness,
As to raise arm against our very life !
Is monstrous, good Knight, tho' doubtless true :
So show us proofs of her delinquency.
Here are the letters of the captive queen,
Wherein your highness will at once find proof.
Of all your faithful servant hath deposed .
Thy faith good Walsingham right well we know,
And thank sincerely from our grateful heart.
These letters we'll peruse in our boudoir.
Meantime be vigilant and secret too.
Forgive thy servant if he dares suggest
Your Grace's quick perusal of those notes :
The Council of these traitors waits e'en now,
For GifFord to convey the Queen's reply.
We'll do so with all meet dispatch, good friend.
The rogues shall not inhale a moment's breath,
Beyond the limits scrutiny demands — ■
And for that graceless Caledonian dame,
WV11 teach her who is Queen on England's shore;
Nor shall her crown, or royal dignity,
Protect her from the vengeance of the law.
Great God ! we thank thee for thy high behest,
In watching thus our sinful person o'er ;
And may we still, with thy efficient aid,
Continue to confound the knavish tricks,
Of all who league against the protestant.
Still grant us wisdom, and enough foresight,
To check each embryo faction in its bud ;
And as a mother watcheth o'er her child,
So may Elizabeth the state protect,
And live the parent of her people still.
These are no times to think of wedlock's joys,
We'll banish from our mind all thought thereof;
And meditate on politics alone.
We see too clearly that a reigning Queen
Has no pretension to domestic bliss.
Indeed, we've had good warning, in the fate
Of this, our sister Queen, now captive here ;
Who, had she been content to live a maid,
Or, after her first spouse, the Dauphin's death,
Felt warm enough upon a widow'd couch,
Might still have been a Queen to all intents.
But nought would suit her but the bridal bed :
And we will wager, were she once more free,
Would, after all her evils, wed again.
But that howe'er we will ourself prevent :
For as she's had enough of subject loves,
(At least so judge we from the two she found)
Perhaps would fancy, as a fourth good spouse.
Some foreign potentate, our deadly foe ;
And claim again our kingdom's sovereignty :
This fear was ever foremost in our mind.
And tho' the danger is too obvious
Of still detaining her a captive here,
(As all her late conspiracies protest)
Yet of her freedom, for this very cause,
Not an idea can we entertain.
What's to be done in this emergency ? —
'Tis true there is one course we might pursue,
And justice claim as warrant for the deed ;
But that's repugnant to our sex and faith :
Altho' 'twould be retaliation fair.
She is our prisoner, yet plots our death ;
We are her jailer, and her judge at once :
And could find pretext for whate'er we list.
Sure France would not embroil itself in war,
A war with England ! for a woman's sake ;
Altho' that woman calls herself, forsooth,
Of Scotland Queen ; and Dowager of France.
And for the Scotch, they've had enough of her-
Could James himself her conduct vindicate ? — ■
Yet, as her son, however culpable,
He might think fit to challenge our right
To sit in judgment o'er a monarch's life ;
Who like ourself hath been a crowned Queen :
For tho' 'tis true she hath her crown resign'd,
Yet by descent, it still belongs to her ;
And 'twere no part of our deep policy
To question rights which seem legitimate.
We're almost absolute o'er this our realm,
Nor would one tittle of our sway forego,
And 'twould perhaps be dangerous to hold
A doctrine calculated to infringe,
By inference only, on the attribute,
Which shows the right of crowned kings, divine !
For these and other causes we are loath
To act with what might seem severity.
And then her beauty too hath made such noise,
*That even we have been out-rivalM there :
(And, or our glass belies, or we are fair.)
And beauty wins upon the heart of man,
As we ourself by past experience know.
Her beauty therefore would upraise a host
Of wanton tongues to wag against the deed,
And brand perhaps our reign with cruelty :
Ay, and in spite of our acknowledged charms,
Some foul-mouth'd slanderers might yet be found,
Ready to name our justice, jealousy ;
The which we would not for the world have said :
Seeing we know ourself as fair as her.
We must pause well, ere to ourself, our thought,
Be breathed in whispers that ourself may hear :
* It is said that Elizabeth never was handsome, yet even
at the age of Sixty, when told she was young and lovely,
And ere the thought of such a whisper rise,
We must retire these letters to peruse.
^Twould be injustice to condemn unheard,
And these can tell us what we ought to know :
Therefore we'll haste to our own cabinet,
And turn them over with all meet despatch.
mm of <&ctti)t&tton%.
THE DEATH OF
MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS.
Now is all settled for the enterprise,
And Fortune seems to hold the laurel band,
Intwined to deck the temples of her sons.
Now shall this reign of contumely cease ;
And England rise above her recent woes :
The council have decided on the deed :
And 'twill be struck before this haughty Queen
Can have an inkling of her coming fate.
She will be summoned in the very prime
And flower of her sin, to her account ;
And well may she abide a judge severe,
Who will judge her, as she hath others judg'd,
With like severity ; and learn too late,
The dues of her accursed heresy.
Welcome, good Maude — now is the glorious day,
The day of your emancipation come ;
When once again the Cross shall re-assume
Its ancient sway o'er this deluded realm.
Now shall the bonfires for the hell-kites blaze ;
*The golden days of Mary now return ;
And woe to those arch-imps of heresy,
Who, under favor of a guilty Queen,
Have dar'd for lucre to abjure their faith,
And sell themselves to be a strumpet's tool.
If this be true, what will become of me / —
And now too is arriv'd the happy day,
The good shall reap the harvest of their toil :
Now is the flinchless sword of justice rais'd,
Whose keen-set edge shall carve thro' wicked men
The glorious path-way unto righteousness ;
And those who have done evil shall be cast
To outer darkness, as the Scripture saith,
Where weeping shall be heard, and gnashing teeth.
If this be true, what shall become of thee! —
* Here he alludes to the times of Mary I. of England,
commonly called " Bloody Queen Mary."
I long to glut upon this feast of blood :
How will the boasters tremble now, and shrink,
And try by recantation to preserve
Their qmVring bodies from the pincer's touch :
But if /have a voice, ^twill nought avail.
They've lived their sinful yesterday, and now
The brilliant morrow shall be ours alone :
We'll be as merciless as mercy can ;
For merciful it is to punish them,
Since earthly pains may earthly sins atone,
And save the soul from everlasting woe —
So Pll well scourge myself for what Pve done.
'Twould be the height of cruelty to spare,
When by such clemency we should entail
Eternal malediction on their souls;
And shut them from the shadow of a chance.
To share the Beatific Reverie.
Oh ! may Heav'n grant that no mistaken qualm
Of pitying nature, bid our hearts relent ;
But steel our breasts to kindest cruelty,
That so we may incur upon ourselves,
No after-blame for cruel kindness here ;
But let the guilty reap their just reward.
^Twould cruel therefore be to pardon thee.
Would I could sleep away the hateful space
That intervenes between this deed and now ;
That I might wake and find it even done.
Ye'll sleep the sleep that knows no waking soon.
Hark ! I hear footsteps — some one hither comes—
And doubtless brings fair tidings for your ear —
The time approaches — be on the alert —
Send Pooley round to gather all our friends —
Our scouts are peering at the palace gate,
And will bring tidings when the Queen's abroad.
We must be resolute, nor flinch to strike
The noble blow which shall redeem the land.
Go Maude, bid Pooly haste to summon all —
Let them assemble in a moment's space,
That each may have his post allotted him.
Now may I take ye by the hand, good friend,
And ask the reason, wherefore ye were loath
To coalesce with spirits firm and true ?
I would have had the merit all my own —
For which ambition, I demand your grace :
Moreover, tho' I doubted not the truth
Of each and ev J ry of our valiant friends,
Yet numbers in a secret enterprise,
As often mar, as make the business.
But in this case they have ensured success.
I trust they have, and therefore do rejoice
I yielded to your stable arguments.
And I congratulate myself thereon.
But here comes Barnwell and good Abington.
Welcome kind friends — we meet to act I hope ?-
ENTER ABINGTON AND BARNWELL.
So I conclude from our late conference.
Now all's arranged, the sooner all is done,
The sooner shall we all be satisfied.
And therefore am I anxious all should meet,
Here in the instant without dalliance.
I wonder Gifford daily's then so much,
Plague take the priest, why does he not appear.
All were to be within five minutes call.
Yet those who should be foremost are the last.
I trust good Sir you did not see me here —
Or such remark had been unwarranted —
I yield to none in this grand enterprise,
And was the foremost at the rendezvous.
I'll not be class'd below the foremost, I —
And I was here when you yourself did come.
For shame my comrades, do you banter thus,
When all should be unanimous and firm.
Shake hands, nor utter one reproachful word ;
We all are equal in this enterprise ;
And all should have been first at rendezvous.
I blush to say I was myself but third.
I meant no mischief — must I weigh my words,
Lest they offend unconscious of offence ?
Mo need for weighing, come, come, say no more.
I feel assured there was no slight designed.
Are we to waste our precious moments thus,
And cavil at our inadvertent words,
When life and death sits now upon the tide ?
Why you yourself was the first caviller.
Then say no further on the business.
But let's arrange where we shall post ourselves.
We must be all assembled ere we speak
Of aught that's of such vital consequence.
Why does not Tilney join us presently ! —
And Ballard, what can render him so late —
I marvel Maude and Pooly stay so long —
Nay, Babington has not as yet arrived.
Would they were here, for now we cannot fail,
Since neither proud Elizabeth suspects,
Nor her lynx-partisans, our enterprize.
There never was so well arranged a plot :
Or one conducted with such secrecy.
The biters shall be bit, I think, at last.
The cunning ones of Bessey's ministry,
Who pique them on their assiduity,
Shall find their witty heads eutwitted now.
Ay, with a vengeance, curse upon their brows —
They shall now rue their former diligence.
But hark ! another of the council comes —
And by his footsteps, with unwonted speed. —
BABINGTON, TILNEY, AND TICHBURN,
Fly, fly without a moment of delay. —
We are all lost unless we seperate. —
A warrant's issued Ballard to arrest :
Which will be followed doubtless by some more,
For you and I, and all herein concerned.
There is no hope but in disguise or flight — ■
We are undone — our fortunes all at stake ;
And even life not worth a moment's charge.
That villain Giffbrd has betray'd us all ;
And Maud and Pooley are his curst allies.
I overlooked a note to Scudamore,
(Who also proves a spy of Walsingham's)
Wherein were orders to observe me well :
I skulk'd that instant, leaving cloak and sword,
And have since heard of Ballard's being ta'en.
Mary must be abandon 'd to her fate — >
We cannot aid her in this last extreme —
Let me beseech ye instantly to fly —
Concealment is our only remedy.
These are the fruits of joining this cabal, —
Would I had acted for myself alone —
I had not then been thus trepan'd — betray'd —
Now all is lost unless we quit the land.
That is the only course we must pursue.
Let's to the coast before the ports are clos'd.
Yet not together on the self same route,
As that might draw suspicion on us all.
But each a different way escape the realm.
You shall to Portsmouth — Pll to Hastings go —
Charnock to Plymouth — Babington to Deal.
Then you'll all fly into the lion's mouth,
Whose jaws are stretch'd the whole sea-port around.
The thing's impossible ! — this wily Queen,
And her sagacious ministers have known
Each stage of this complot, from first to last :
And suffer'd it to pass to this extreme,
Solely to catch us in our proper snare,
Lest any might escape who are concern'd.
What's to be done in this dilemma, then ? —
To tarry here is sure discovery,
Since Gifford and his minions know our hold.
Oh ! tarry not a space — fly — instant fly —
Pll haste to St. John's Wood and hide myself.
Adieu, adieu, my noble friends, adieu —
When next we meet 'twill be perhaps to die.
Curs'd be ye all — 'tis you have caus'd this hap —
Had I been sole, the deed had long been done —
Fool that I was to listen to your schemes ! — ■
My blood be on the heads of all of ye.
I'll hie to Cheshire in some female dress,
As the most likely to disguise me well.
Oh ! rather condescend to groom's attire —
A petticoat will show you are a man, — ■
And must excite suspicion anywhere,
Take any dress, but not of woman's wear.
No man is in disguise, in petticoats ;
We cannot walk in them as ladies do.
For my part, I'll to Lancashire, at once,
'Tis the last place they'll think to seek out me ;
And if they do, I hope to pass unknown ;
For I'll assume my lackey's livery.
Adieu. — [Exit Charnocko
Adieu — adieu — there's no time to be lost. —
I must disguise myself as best I may,
And fly to Wales for most security.
And whither to direct my own lost steps,
Is more than I, in this extreme, can tell. —
But here I must not for a moment stay. —
So now may chance or Heaven be my guide.
We still are in perplexity and doubt,
As to what mode of- conduct to adopt,
Touching the trial of this Scottish Queen.
That she is guilty, is beyond all doubt}
For her own Secretaries, Nau and Curie,
Have sworn she Babington's epistles read ;
And that they answer 'd them by her command.
Moreover 'tis confirm'd by Ballard's word ;
Whom we have now in custody secure:
And as our warrant's out against the rest,
(With due precaution to prevent escape)
We soon, God willing, hope to be well rid
Of these our present dastard enemies.
With them we trouble not our royal mind ;
They must be dealt with, as their deeds deserve ;
And all the realm with one accord will own
The justice, of their sentence being death.
But for this princess, tho' her guilt's as great,
Or greater than her coadjutors all,
Yet much must be consider'd ere she die :
Tho' death should also be her punishments
The thought howe'er with horror chills our veins
We would not think of such extremity,
Did not our own existence hang thereon :
But after all her late delinquencies,
We've no security in this our land,
Whilst she inhales its air — yet England still
Must prove her prison-house ; for she's secure
In no hands but our own, while she has life :
And that " assurance may be double sure,"
We now bethink us, it were meet to change,
For more security, her late abode:
She shall to Fotheringay, and there await
The fate, what-e'er it be, that we decree.
Meantime we'll hear what doth our state opine,
And regulate our conduct by their word,
Seeing we think it worthy cherishing.
command our Secretary to our sight.
And bid him haste with fitting diligence.
If we forgive her, she'll renew th' attempt —
And if we punish, what will slander say ?
Yet there's no justice if she doth escape ;
Seeing her comrades, tho' less vile by far,
Must pay the forfeit with their very lives.
Have you, according to our late command,
Sounded the council on this business ?
My liege I have obey'd your royal word,
And all agree the Queen of Scots must die.
Now, by God's death! what are the words We
How ! in our realm of England doom to death !
A Scottish potentate, and sceptred Queen ! —
We had not dreamt of like severity —
Nor can we for a moment muse thereon —
What would the people say to such a deed ? —
The council were divided, touching that —
Some thought, your highness, as she is infirm,
Confinement closer than ere yet she's had,
Might expedite her death, and save the realm
From imputation of all violence.
The Earl of Leicester did propose, my liege,
That even poison was expedient,
And would remove her quietly and safe ;
Without the noise
Hush ! for thy soul ! — hush ! hush !—
Nay, on thy life, hold too, good Walsingham —
What ! do they take us for a murderess ! —
I will not hear of such monstrosity.
In brief, your Majesty, the major part
Insisted on her death by legal act.
Alledging that for all her royal rank,
Her judges must condemn and sentence her.
But where shall we find judges in this cause ?—
She is a Queen, and sovereign like ourself.
She would be sovereign like your majesty :
And will try hard, unless you wipe her off.
These are no times for such punctilios —
She merits death, and from your highness' hand.
We do beseech your gracious majesty
To grant a trial, and without delay.
Fresh rumours are afloat throughout the realm :
Indeed ^tis said, and with apparent truth,
Some counter-plot is even on the wind,
Well organized by this same gentle Queen ;
Or by some popish lords, her secret friends,
Ready to act if Babington's should fail :
And fail'd it has, for since we met, my liege,
The rest of the confederates we've found—
The greater part at Harrow-on-the-hill.
Is't even so ? — well then, good Walsingham,
Our people are our children, and their will
Is ever ours, when a mother may
In prudence yield to their desires. — Enough — ■
Let forty peers, and of our judges five,
Try and pass sentence upon Mary's life ;
We then shall be enabled best to judge,
What she may merit from our clemency.
Meanwhile direct Sir Thomas Gorges straight
To hasten and apprize her of the fate
Of her adherents all, who to a man
Shall shorter be by the whole head, erewhile
He brings the tidings to her gracious ear.
And lest she should escape, ere this be done,
Remove her instantly to Fotheringay,
Where she shall tarry till her trial pass.
We will alone in our own cabinet
Indite a letter to this homicide,
The while you draw out warrants for the deatli
Of those misguided men, her instruments :
Which forward for our royal signature.
Howe'er repugnant may our duty be,
We should perform it, tho' soft nature's qualms
May essay to allure with furtive voice.
It renders sick my very soul to sue,
And goad the Queen, to sanction Mary's death ;
But yet 'tis needful for the common weal,
That restless princess should be tranquillized.
There's no security whilst she's alive,
And ready to become the secret tool
Of ev'ry papist faction set on foot.
She is the bait with which all needy men,
All bigots, all fanatics bait their hook ;
And her misfortunes and captivity,
The constant theme to lure adventurers,
Who mov'd by specious tales (and something more.
By prospects of their own emolument)
Are cozened by a bait so flattering.
This bait then it is needful to remove,
That disaffected men no more may hold
Temptation in her sorrows up to view.
/Tis not they care for Mary's miseries,
Or pity her untoward destiny ;
For rather they rejoice her woes afford
A pretext to make her a rallying point.
She is a catholic, and that's enough —
Where-e'er the papist would dissension breed,
He talks of Mary's sad captivity —
And labours to identify as one,
Her evils, and his persecuted faith :
Because he must cite some specific cause
To rouse the anger, or the sympathy,
Of those he would entice to be the dupes,
And ladders to his own ambitious views.
And 'tis the nature of the hair-brain'd crowd
To turn as doth the weathercock, which way,
Or fair, or foul, the wind is wont to blow.
As for the merits of this Scottish dame,
If they were taken into count at all,
By those who'd judge her cause impartially,
She long had met the death now waiting her :
But she's the strong-hold of the catholic—
'Tis therefore that the catholics do name,
Her very crimes, misfortunes ; knowing well
If duly criticised, her woes they'll find
Fall very short of what she has deserved.
And tho' we would not that a selfish thought
Should interfere to instigate the deed ;
Yet should the good Elizabeth be slain.
And this foul strumpet sway the sceptre here,
What would become of us, her enemies ? —
Or any other protestant alive ? —
Marry, we soon should her compassion feel.
'Tis said, indeed, we should by others do,
So as we would should others unto us ;
But may we not the words transpose, and say,
We'll do by others, as they'd do by us ?
'Tis surely no injustice so to say —
And the law sanctions us, in self defence,
To draw the life-blood of our mortal foe.
And reason, aiding nature, doth instruct
To kill the reptile that will else kill us.
Thus if we suffer self to interfere,
Is there fair argument for Mary's death — <
But now divesting it of all such clog,
We'll look alone to England's benefit ;
And as the God of Heaven is my judge,
'Tis for her welfare solely that I strive.
What ! — shall the life of one vile worthless quean,
Weigh in the balance 'gainst a nation's weal !
Forbid it Heav'n ! wherefore do I pause,
And thus deliberate on such a point ? —
Nought can be urged against so just an act ;
And nought in favor of the caitiff dame.
Oh let me hasten to fulfil my trust ;
Dead to all feelings but my country's good
BABINGTON (in Chains)
Now all is over — and no prospect left,
But what presents itself beyond the grave—
If I have acted wrong in this attempt,
May God forgive me, for I meant it well :
He sees my heart — knows no ambitious view
E'er prompted me to treason, or to blood —
But that I ventured fortune, honor, life,
In the good cause of her I swore to serve :
And woe be to the guilty knave, whose tongue
Betrayed me and my brave associates,
(Together with his own religious faith)
Like to Iscariot, even with a kiss !
To what vile things may God's own servants turn.
Here is a Priest — a sacred man of God —
One whose profession is the Pope's support,
Turns traitor to his own belief, and pawns
His very soul for mammon's recompence.
Out, out upon such foul-mouth'd hypocrites,
Who herd and harbour with the heretic,
And yet presume t' insult the Saviour,
By acting as his representatives.
But Satan has a hand in this affair ; —
And we are taught by holy writ, indeed,
That many false shall rise, and evil do
To the good cause of the true christian faith.
But God will doubtless in his own good time,
Work the redemption of his own elect :
Altho' in his inscrutable decrees,
Many must suffer in the righteous cause •
And evil ones be suffered to exist,
To bring about, by their unworthy aid,
The very purpose they attempt to mar.
I thank Thee ! that I die a catholic.
And may my death in thy acknowledged faith,
Atone the sins that in the flesh Pve done :
And teach me to endure without a sigh,
Thy high behest, altho' it seem severe.
Farewell — farewell to all the joys of earth —
Pll close my eyes on your unmeet array,
Which now would dazzle, as in very spite,
And seek to lure me to lament th' exchange
Of your vile nothingness, for Heaven's joys :
For howsoe'er we life may disregard,
When of life's joys we think ourselves secure,
And designate that very life an ill ;
Yet when, would Death relieve us from our woe,
Our very woes assume a pleasing form ;
And we are loath to say to them, farewell.
Did ever man, howe'er severe his lot,
Resign this " mortal coil," nor cast one look,
One last, long look, of sad anxiety,
E'en on the evils he must see no more.
There's something that attaches us to life,
That e'en the suicide unconscious owns ;
Or wherefore should he rush with frantic haste
To do the deed he hath resolv'd to do,
Lest by a pause his purpose change to fear,
And he may re-resolve to try once more
Those ills he's vow'd no longer to endure.
Then how should he, who born to affluence,
And nurs'd in Fortune's lap, like Babington ;
With youth, with health, with fame, with family ;
Before whose eyes a cloudless sky appear'd,
As life were one unchequer'd scene of bliss,
Resign without a sigh the joys of love,
Of friendship, kindred, fellowship and all ;
And lay him heartless on the block to die :
Nor feel a pang of agonized regret,
To see cut off amidst the bloom of youth,
E'en in the bud, the morning of his day,
And blighted by one fatal deadly blow,
The flowry dreams that danced before his eye :
When e'en the wretch, whose life's a very curse,
Must work to madness his distracted brain,
Ere his own hand may cut the feeble thread,
Whose flimsy fibre fastens him to life.—
But hark — methought I heard the fatal sound —
God give me strength to bear me like a man.
The heretics have died with constancy,
And let it not be said a catholic
Flinch'd when he sunk before the cross of Christ
(the Bell tolls)
Ha ! — 'twas no fancied sound deceived my ear —
The fatal knell is rung — now all is o'er.
Great God ! look down, and with a parent's care,
Support my breast this trial to endure ;
Let not my heart-strings burst in agony,
But aid me, Jesus ! thro' the awful scene,
I am prepar'd — I know your business —
Oh ! spare my ear the painful reckoning —
Say only — do I suffer all alone —
Or are my noble friends to fall with me ? —
They now await you at the prison gate.
I follow then — lead on — now gracious God
Desert me not — adieu, false world, adieu.
mm of &tt tfie €|m&.
THE DEATH OF
MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS.
QUEEN MARY, SIR AMIAS PAULETT, and
SIR DRUE DRURY.
Why am I thus removed from my abode ? — •
Is't so the Queen of England sets at nought
All forms my rank and dignity require ? — •
Why am I hurried now from house to house,
Without the slightest intimation made ?—
My health's in no condition to endure
The trouble and fatigue of these removes.
Am I to tarry where I am, Sir Drue,
Or with the morrow journey further still ?—
Your grace has travelled by the Queen's command.
Who doubtless has good cause for all she does i
Fve no commission to inform your grace.
Wherefore it may be thought expedient.
Am I to tarry where I am, or no ? —
That must depend upon the Queen's command.
And why so taciturn, my worthy knight ? —
Pray may I ask the name of this abode ?
'Tis Fotheringay, — but prithee lady, peace —
Fer here comes one with tidings from the court.
ENTER SIR THOMAS GEORGES.
May health and happiness betide your grace,
Although the bearer of but woful news,
And one who augurs there'll be greater woe,
For her, to whom the tidings I relate.
Now God protect me ! — speak it out, sir knight,
I have good courage to endure the blow.
But I poor courage to inflict it tho' —
Your grace knows best if you in aught have leagued
With some ungracious knaves, against the Queen,
Whereby her majesty's most sacred life,
Was to be taken by a desp'rate blow,
Aim'd by a traitor's hand, at your command ;
Be this, or be it not in truth the case,
I do not ask, nor do I wish to know :
My sole commission is to tell your grace
Those knaves are shorter by the head ere now ;
And that awaiting- by the castle gate,
Are thirty-six commissioners, who come
Charged by Elizabeth to bid your grace
Prepare for trial of your part therein ;
Of whom, demands immediate audience,
Her majesty's vice-chamberlain.
What news — all ! all no more '.—support me
My head grows giddy — let me have a chair—
Or, no — I'll stand upon my innocence :
Nor need support from you, or any one ;
Anger restores the courage I had lost —
Bid the vice-chamberlain come instant in,
I am prepar'd to answer his demands.
How I should blush, were I Elizabeth,
At conduct so unworthy and unjust.
But she shall learn my sentiments thereon :
Tho' here a captive, here I'm not a slave.
SIR CHRISTOPHER HATTON,
[toho delivers Elizabeth's letter to Mary]
WALSINGHAM, and others.
(after perusing the letter)
Pve long foreseen the danger over me,
And therefore feel no terror or surprise,
At what portend the words I here peruse :
Yet do I wonder that the English Queen
Should as a subject treat a Scotch Princess,
Who like herself *s an independent Queen :
Nor will I ever stoop or condescend,
To aught that may degrade my dignity ;
Or prejudice the honor of my heirs.
I will not stand a trial, tell the Queen.
Therein your majesty is much to blame.
The Queen, our mistress doth demand no more
Than that to which your grace should yield consent.
You are accused of treason, and ^tis meet
Her majesty should know the truth thereof.
Of treason ! say ye, gentle chamberlain ! —
How can a Queen interpret such a word ?
He that is traitor, must allegiance owe :
Jam a sovereign, subject unto none.
'Tis meet awhile you lay aside your pomp.
Your grace is in a foreign prince's realm,
And there accused of crimes against the state ;
And must submit to trial of the law.
The law of England is unknown to me —
1'in destitute of counsel in my cause —
Nor can I well conceive who could become
My peers, in this unwonted business ;
Since but one equal in the realm I know.
When first I fled to England, it is true
1 sought protection from her Queen, and law :
But did I gain what I so justly hoped ? —
I need not answer, for you know right well,
That I no benefit derived therefrom ;
But in exchange for their security,
Have found a long and lonely prison here.
Reproaches for the past, have nought to do
With that which us to your highness' ear:
'Tis the Queen's pleasure that your grace be tried,
For having leagued against her sacred life.
But I will not submit to any Queen :
Or own a greater than myself on earth :
So Pll not yield to such a base demand.
If she is tired of my presence here,
And thinks I do cabal against her life,
In God's name let her send me instant home.
I'd rather see Lochleven's walls again,
And breathe the free air of my native land,
Than trouble this inhospitable shore,
And if a dungeon must be Mary's doom,
What boots it to this Queen where it may be ?
She would be rid of me, and my cabals,
(As such it seems she doth suspect me of)
And / of her rebukes, on Scotland's soil-
Why doth she fetter me, and hold me here,
If by my company she fears her life ?
'Tis not my place to sift her grace's will-
Why such may be her highness' policy,
She hath not intimated to my ear :
All I know is, her majesty is firm,
And will insist upon your trial here :
To which if you refuse to yield consent,
W 7 e shall proceed, according to command,
Against your grace as contumacious.
I'd rather die a thousand deaths, than own
Myself a subject unto any prince,
That reigns, or e'er shall reign, upon the earth.
How-e'er, before a full, free Parliament,
T will consent to vindicate myself:
Since it surpasses my foresight to say
Whether or not these same commissioners
May not have met to take away my life,
With some pretext of justice to the world.
Consult your consciencies, I do entreat —
Remember that the world's great theatre,
Is more extensive than the English realm :
And what will all the continent proclaim,
If aught unjust should hurt a princess here ?
I am a woman, as I am a Queen :
Beseech you, gentlemen, consider that — ■
And let my sex plead for me in your hearts ;
As well as my unwonted miseries.
Be not seduced by haughty England's guile,
For know that woman Against a woman rous'd,
Is more implacable than fiend 'gainst fiend.
Tho' why your monarch rates me as her foe,
Surpasses female cunning to conceive :
But that she doth so rate me, is declared :
And having thus made manifest her hate,
It doth behove ye with a jealous ear,
To listen to the tales my dormant foes
Will now awake to propagate — the Queen,
The head, the sovereign of the land's my foe,
And having so announced herself to all,
It is a signal for the rest to rise :
And think how soon an unprotected dame,
Friendless, deserted, in a foreign land,
Bereft of counsel, in a prison held,
May by her secret enemies be crushed.
Keep this in mind, and let me have fair play,
And before parliament, my innocence,
My injured innocence, unfettered plead : —
If needs it must be that I plead at all.
Now by my troth that very innocence
Should plead for trial, by your grace's leave,
A trial might that innocence attest,
Which by refusal will be left in doubt.
Believe me, madam, that you injure much
Your reputation, and your own great name,
By shrinking from the very mode whereby
Your honor may be cleared to all mankind,
Let me consider — there is logic there —
5 Tis guilt alone should shun inquiry — •
And innocence expose itself to proof—
I have no fears but for my dignity ;
And if I thought that was not compromised,
I would not shun, but seek th* inquiry.
Your dignity can ne'er be compromised
By that which shall your dignity uphold.
Your name is blighted if you do not yield ;
The pestilential breath of slanderers
Hath withered all the leaves of your renown ;
And they must perish, if some healthful breeze
Doth not arise to clear the atmosphere ;
And renovate, as with a second spring,
The drooping foliage of Mary's fame.
May I protest against subjection, then ?—
If that may be, I will consent to plead.
We've no authority to grant ye that,
Necessity, your grace should recollect,
Is said to have no law — yours is a case
Of dire necessity, and out-laws law.
Let me beseech your highness to consent.
I will not own subjection to your Queen.
Nor need your grace ; we only do refuse
To grant a protest disallowing it.
'Twill therefore be implied — I'll not consent.
It shall be enter'd upon record then.
Well, be it so — ye are resolv'd, I see,
To teach me where I am : such cruelty
Befits not you to use, nor me to bear :
But as you say, necessity makes law :
And now remember that a wretched Queen,
A hapless female, and an alien,
Has thrown her on your generosity.
Be men, doff not the emblem our immortal sire
Has stamp'd upon your race, nor show yourselves
The image only of the martyr'd Lord :
Be that in mind, ye are externally ;
The representative of Him on high !
And prove that when he made the outward man,
He form'd the inward man to dwell therein :
Nor left his work, like white-wash'd sepulchre,
A base receptacle for all that's vile,
Corrupt, unclean, loathsome, and hideous ;
A fair, but fraudulent exterior,
Hiding afest'ring and infectious mass
Of foul putridity, whose fetid breath
Is poison when its fume inhaled may be.
Ah ! show your bodies not the resting place,
The prison-house for Satan's tenantry,
Altho' you have abjur'd the true belief:
And if such fiends as Malice, Envy, Hate,
Have e'er found tenement within your hearts,
Or lurk'd unknown in any hiding place ;
Let a lost woman, and a widow'd Queen,
Abandoned by her subjects, by her son ;
Bereft of ties of fealty and of blood ;
Beseech ye, with perhaps a dying voice,
To give such tenants notice all to quit :
And take instead, the nobler coterie,
Those guests which suit alone a Briton's breast,
Truth, Justice, Honor, and Integrity.
Your grace may rest assured of justice here.
Restore to me the notes I may have made,
Ere I was hurried so unseemly here.
Your grace may best remember what ye wrote,
But we, who cannot boast such memory,
Do need those notes for our own scrutiny-—
They must not be restor'd, your majesty.
If this is justice, mercy blends it not !
'Tis cruel to deny this fair request.
And was it mercy prompted ye to league
Against the life of Queen Elizabeth ? —
That charge is yet unprovM : and recollect,
Mercy should judge the guilty innocent,
Till of the guilty has the guilt been provM.
Your grace doth plead in vain— it cannot be.
Grant me a copy of my protest then ? —
Again I must refuse — your grace demands
What I have no authority to grant.
God grant me patience : — here's again a proof
Of the strict justice Mary must expect.
Well, Sir, I will not condescend to sue.
Give me an advocate to plead my cause :
It cannot be supposed a female head
May cope with those accusers, doom'd I fear
To urge against me crimes political.
*Tis guilt alone requires an advocate.
I trust the honesty of your good cause
Wants no auxiliary to prove itself;
If, lady, you are really innocent,
Your innocence will innocence attest,
Without the aid of any counsellor.
How can a woman, Sir, by nature weak,
Find words to plead against a legal force ?
How shall my feeble voice be heard amidst
So many pleaders learned in the law ?
Madam, I answer as before : if true,
Your truth will manifest itself; if false,
No counsel would conceal your falsity.
I scarcely know of what I am accused —
Or who, or what my foul accusers are.
Pm told I have conspired against the Queen,
And that my coadjutors all are dead :
But who has dar'd to bring so foul a charge,
Home to the door of Caledonia's Queen,
Is what ye have not deigned to intimate.
But here stands one preparM to answer you.
'Tis now my office to address the Queen :
And painful is the task I must perform :
And I beseech your grace to credit me,
When I declare myself unprejudiced,
And solely actuated on my part
By motives legal and professional.
And therefore do demand your highness' grace
When I accuse you of concerting with,
Aiding, abetting, and consenting to
The foul conspiracy of Babington,
And many others 'gainst our sovereign's life.
A charge confirm' d by letters in your name,
Which your own secretaries, Nau and Curie,
Do upon oath expressly testify
Were written by your majesty's command,
In answer to the schemes of Babington.
Confront me with those wretches, Nau and Curie,
And I defy them to persist therein.
Their statement is confirm'd by Babington,
Who has corroborated their attest :
As also hath one Captain Fortescue,
Who by an alias was Ballard call'd,
Before he cast the sacerdotal robe,
For boot and spur in this unseemly cause,
Speak not of such confession here, good sir —
The fear of torture will extort from men
Whatever their tormenters bid them say.
And for the letters, they are forgeries,
The work of mine accursed enemies :
There is a plot against a Queen, 'tis true,
But 'tis against a wretched captive Queen,
Debar 'd the privilege of self-defence,
Without one friend to advocate her cause :
Whose miseries would sympathy excite,
In bosoms that were not of adamant.
But woe, alas ! my case I see prejudged :
You are resolv'd to prove me criminal :
For no disturbance in the realm can rise,
No papist faction, no supposed intrigue,
No plot, or treason 'gainst the state or Queen,
But hapless Mary is concerned therein.
Pve done my best, and 'twas most natural,
To gain my liberty, and save my life,
And breath'd there e'er a prisoner on earth,
Who did not seek his own enfranchisement ?
But for a thought against your sovereign's life,
The bare idea horrifies my veins.
And would to God that Queen Elizabeth,
To Mary felt no more hostility,
Than Mary doth to Queen Elizabeth.
Let me beseech ye all to bear in mind,
The sad predicament in which I stand ;
I would be free — what captive would not so ? —
And to gain freedom, will not peril run ? —
Where is the wretch deprived of liberty,
Would hearken not to rescue's friendly call ?
Yet whilst immur'd in lonely prison walls,
How were it easy to discriminate,
Whether the proffer'd aid be friendship's voice,
Or a base lure to ruin's fatal goal ? —
Whether the individual's good is sought,
Or in his ignorance he's made the tool,
The handle for the worst of purposes ? —
But there's a letter will be read in court,
Wherein the Earl of ArundePs good name,
And that of his fair brother too, your grace. . . .
Oh ! mention not such names as those, I pray ;
Alas ! what has not noble Howard's name
Endured for my sake, wretched as I am —
Moreover, Sir, may not the letter be
A base contrivance, form'd by Walsingham ?
Who oft hath practised 'gainst my own sad life ;
And that of my misguided son
I rise in self-defence, and to protest
My heart most free from malice or ill-will :
I ne'er have done an act would misbecome
An honest man ; or ought unworthy of
The station which I hold in England's realm.
I'm satisfied, good Sir — you're innocent —
And let me beg you'll give as little faith
To the aspersions of my enemies ;
As I" do now to those unjust reports,
Which were a stigma to your prejudice.
Now then to trial let us straight proceed.
We will attend your grace to the great hall ;
Where, lady, the commissioners await
Great God ! assist me in this hour of need.
Aid me with strength and wisdom in my cause,
And give me words to plead my innocence.
I go — yet fear me 'tis like helpless lamb,
Unto the slaughter-house — by your leave, Sirs —
[Exit Queen *Mary, followed by the rest.
(Elizabeth sitting— two ladies of the bed-cham-
ber in the back-ground.)
Now dangers do increase around our head,
And we've no sooner erush'd one enemy,
Than others do arise to threaten us.
The realm is rackM with rumours of new plots,
Which fill us with perplexity and dread ;
And ev'ry voice accuses Scotland's Queen
Of taking part in these conspiracies.
'Tis difficult to choose what course to take —
We fear to brand our reign with cruelty ;
And give posterity the pow'r to say,
That England's virgin Queen, a despot was : —
Or did an act at which may cavillers,
In their intemperance exceptions take.
For tho' in justice it is strictly true,
This princess merits death at our hands,
Yet are we well aware, our privilege
Gives us no judgement over crowned heads,
Who by the chance of war, or accident,
May come within the compass of our will.
If we do judge, it is by might, not right :
And yet in such a case as this, 'tis might
Makes right, for it's in self defence ! — no more —
We've ev'ry thing to fear from her revenge —
She's prov'd herself too capable to act
With like deception, as inveteracy ;
As witness Darnley's past catastrophe sad ;
And other acts of foul delinquency.
We've no security while she's alive,
Yet shudder to condemn a Queen to die.
We may make Scotland too thereby our foe :
Tho' she's too weak to trouble England now — ■
Nay for the Scotch, if speak we of the realm,
They've had enough, and fain were rid of her.
But James, her son, may stir their spirit up ;
Who's bound in duty to espouse her cause,
However well-deserv'd her fate may be —
Suppose we take a lenient course, and wait
Till some new act of flagrancy appear —
Yet that new act may take our very life.
We dare not trust to such expedient :
Or if we do, we'll have the warrant signed
And sealed in readiness ; and lay it by :
So that in case of an emergency,
(After she's once condemn'd to suffer death)
We may at pleasure, maugre further pains,
Order her execution in a trice.
(to the ladies of the bed-chamber)
You may withdraw ye to the anti-room :
And bid to our royal presence speedily,
Our secretary, Davison.
I shall feel less in jeopardy ; and rest
Until some act overt demands her death :
The which, we hope in our sagacity,
T' arrest, and counteract i' th' very bud.
What still says rumour of the Scottish Queen ? —
My liege, she is condemned by ev'ry voice.
And much the commons marvel that your grace
Should condescend to try in open court,
One who already has been guilty prov'd.
We know indeed her guilt is past all doubt :
And therefore do expect our ministers
To find her guilty, and pass sentence straight.
The which is much upon our royal mind,
Having no heart to put it into force.
Therein your majesty doth greatly err,
Altho' the error springs from mercy's source.
Let me beseech ye (and in my weak voice
Sounds but the echo of the common cry)
To shield a life so precious to the realm :
But rest assured no shield in all the land,
Can guard that bosom, but Queen Mary's death,
We know our life in danger, Davison,
And feeling that thou art our faithful friend,
Have judg'd it meet to speak with you thereon.
Howe'er, we cannot yield to Mary's death:
And do entreat for some expedient,
To save us from this last extremity.
If in your wisdom you can such suggest,
Your majesty will show your usual skill.
But for myself, I do profess my head
Too weak to compass what your grace doth seek.
Your grace will dally till it is too late.
There is another rumour on the gale,
Which breathes foul treason Against your grace's
And if *tis left to ripen for a month,
Who knows what evil may result therefrom !~—
What must we do in this emergency ?
There is but one course to pursue — she dies —
No — no, good Davison, that may not be —
Unless we are compelled in self defence —
The which 'tis probable we shortly may ;
And therefore think 'twill be expedient
To have a warrant for her death made out ;
(If our commissioners do sentence pass)
Which shall be signed, and sealed, and ready kept ;
But known to none except our chancellor,
And your own trusty self, good Davison ;
And we ourself will keep the document :
So that in case of the extremest need,
We may have sure and instant remedy.
Thus then we charge ye, soon as shall be known
That sentence hath been passM at Fotheringay,
Draw up the deed in secret ; bring it us ;
And when we have affixed our signature ;
Thereto the chancellor shall fix the seals :
And we will place it in our private drawer.
Away, and may the God of mercy grant,
We never may have need to draw it forth.
icntr of Witt tit dFourtft*
THE DEATH OF
MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS.
The council hath condemned the Queen of Scots.
And 'tis a sentence she right well deserves :
Indeed the nation clamours for her death ;
And parliament doth loud reiterate
Sincere solicitations to her grace,
To authorize it's being put in force :
Maintaining 'tis a cruelty to all,
Herself, her subjects, and posterity,
To show this princess any mercy here :
Yet still Elizabeth's inflexible !—
Now whether is the Queen sincere or not ? —
Or, doth she shudder at severity ;
Or feign reluctance in arch policy,
To answer some unfathomable end ? —
For at the time she doth affect to shake,
And sympathize her rival's misery ;
She suffers to be published aloud,
This sentence which astonishes the world ;
And on the continent hath made such noise,
That crowned Kings, and potentates do stare,
And lift their eyes in wonder, when they hear
A sovereign princess is condemned to die,
By a tribunal, in a foreign land,
To which she doth nowise subjection own.
I've here too, by her majesty's command,
A Warrant, signed and sealed for her demise :
Which both do augur, it is her design
To rid her of her hated enemy.
Now whether should I merit her rebuke,
Or claim hereafter, gratitude and love ;
If I outstept her highness's command,
And carried to the council this same deed,
Instead of to her grace's anti-room ? —
Women are fickle creatures, oftentimes
They must be forced to what they most desire :
And it doth strike me, that her majesty,
Would fain be forced to slay this Scottish foe.
I'll to the council — if they judge it right
To execute the warrant here, forthwith,
They doubtless will protect me from her rage.
I'll stand on their responsibility.
The child that's whipt will after kiss the hand
That did so late inflict the punishment,
Tho' rude the benefit received thereby.
The patient too, altho' of riper years,
Must sometimes be compelled to take the draught,
For want of courage to compel himself;
Yet will he not contemn the skilful leech,
After the medicine has ta'en effect,
Who forced him to the hateful remedy.
I'll to the council ere I do receive
Some counter-order from the wavering Queen ;
The time's not one for scrupulosity,
Or to demur upon punctilious forms.
QUEEN ELIZABETH, LORD BUCKHURST,
and BEALE, (Clerk of the Council.)
Tho' rumour's trumpet hath proclaimed aloud
The sentence past on Mary, Queen of Scots,
And all the realm, and all the continent,
Do openly discuss it far and wide ;
Yet is that princess still in ignorance
Of that concerning her, all else do know ;
J Tis therefore meet you speed to Fotheringay,
And there apprize her of her dreadful fate.
Your Majesty's commands shall be obey'd.
And, speaking in the counciPs name, we hope
The sentence past may soon receive th' assent
Of your most gracious highness, and be put
With all due promptitude into effect.
Our council's wisdom hath the sentence pass'd ;
Our people clamour for her instant death ;
And our own safety may demand her life ;
We therefore think it meet she know the same.
But do not judge therefrom, my worthy lord,
We entertain intentions so severe.
We rather think our nature will forbid
Our ever yielding our consent thereto.
Your majesty should hear the people's voice ;
And recollect the dangers of the realm :
What would be England, if so wise a Queen,
Were swept by some accursed hand away ? —
Let us beseech your grace to grant our pray'r —
Your children's pray'r, and to despatch your foe.
We echo but the voice of all the land.
Think of the rumour'd plots e'en now afloat :
Alas ! we tremble for your majesty —
Your grace's ministers, lynx-eyed soe'er ;
Your people's love, however passionate ;
The wisdom of your cautious parliament ;
Are insufficient, all, alike to guard
Your gracious life from embryo cabals,
Form'd in deep ambush by this wily Queen.
Our people's weal hath ever been our law :
Yet must we not permit their anxious zeal,
To lead us to an act of cruelty.
We must pause well before this deed be done.
And be convinced of its necessity.
Our people's fears for our unworthy life,
May conjure dangers that do not exist —
Or hyperbolically view what do„
Her death must be our dernier resort ;
And ev'ry other means be first essay'd ;
So speed ye to the castle where she dwells,
And try th' effect of terror on her mind :
Let her be told, ay, and without disguise,
That all the realm vociferate for blood ;
And we ourself so love our loving realm,
She must hope little from our clemency.
(enter a lord in waiting)
What is your will, my lord ?— wherefore intrude ?
My liege, without's a Scotch ambassador,
Who craves an instant audience of your grace.
Let him appear, we know his errand well.
Now my lord Buckhurst, speed ye straight away,
And thou, my trusty Beale, to Fotheringay ;
The while I speak with this ambassador.
[Exeunt Buckhurst and Beale.
Now must we hear the importunities,
And foul-mouth'd ribaldry of Scotland's King.
For well do we anticipate reproach,
From the rude quarter whence this northern comes.
But we're prepared to answer to his teeth,
And bid defiance to our neighbour James ;
To show him we'll be ruler o'er our realm,
In spite of all the claymores north of Tweed —
ENTER SIR WILLIAM KEITH.
What would the Scotch ambassador with us ? —
May't please your majesty, from James our King,
I bring ye greeting ; and his highness' pray'r,
Is still that happiness betide your grace ;
But lost in wonder is fair Scotland's King ;
And all her realm excited past detail,
By rumours of strange import from the south ;
So far beyond our credit and belief,
That did not all the continent resound,
And even England echo back herself
The very tale herself promulgated,
'Twould pass the limits of credulity :
And James as false would spurn the sland'rous
(Which babbling to belie your majesty,
Would stigmatize Elizabeth's renown,)
When they report that by your highness* will.
Queen Mary, mother to our royal James,
And widow to the King of France, deceased,
Has been arraigned in open tribunal,
Accused of treason 'gainst your grace's life ;
And this tribunal, tho' bereft of right,
Of pow'r to try a foreign potentate,
Has, by it's self-created privilege,
Presum'd to censure, and condemn a Queen ;
And it's usurp'd authority extend,
Even to pass upon a crowned head
The last and awful sentence of the law ! !
And wherefore should our Scottish neighbours dare
To question or to censure our decree ? —
We are in this our land of England, Queen ! —
And will enforce our just prerogative.
All traitors by our law are doom'd to die.
A crowned head can not a traitor be .
Queen Mary is a sceptred potentate,
And to no foreign law amenable.
Fair words, and fairly spoken, gentle sir,
But neither haughty Keith, nor mighty James
Shall sway the sceptre in old England here.
This Mary is our prisoner, proud Scot,
And having leagued against our very life,
Shall die the death a traitor ought to die.
Let me beseech your grace to recollect
The rank and dignity of Scotland's Queen.
What will be said of England's equity,
When it be blazon'd to the wond'ring world,
Her noblest sovereign, fair Elizabeth,
For justice and for wisdom so renown'd !—
The very model and the type for Kings ! —
Condemned to death a princess like herself;
One whose fair hand a regal sceptre sway'd,
Whose temples were anointed, and ensconced
In the protecting circle of a*crown ! !
She's now depos'd, and is no Queen at all.
Is it Elizabeth that argues thus ?— -
The Scottish Queen has been unfortunate ;
But should a sister Queen, misfortune turn
Into a sword against a fallen foe ?
Now for the sake of argument, we'll grant
The Scottish princess to have been depos'd ;
But does such deposition render her
A subject to the English monarchy ? —
Supposing her to be a Queen no more,
Still she's an alien free from England's law. —
By long sojourning she is nat'raliz'd.
The Scots, her subjects, have discarded her —
The French regard her worthless and undone —
If here in England she is not at home,
Be pleased to tell me where her home may be ?
But to cut short all further parleying,
She is condemn'd ; and being so, shall die.
For who can question our authority !
King James, and Scotland question it, your grace ;
And if such sentence e'er be put in force,
Dread the resentment of the Scottish realm —
Not all the blades in England shall resist
A nation arm'd with justice for it's sword.
The Scotch when rous'd are no inactive foes :
They'll prove themselves, as they have done ere this
No baby warriors for Briton's sword :
They're not indeed precipitate to act,
They weigh the matter well, ere they commence,
But being once convinced of rectitude,
No pow'r can turn them from their rightful-course.
And by my troth, your majesty shall find,
A war in favor of our injur'd Queen,
Shall somewhat differ from our border sports.
England shall rue the day of our revenge.
We little care for Scotland's thunderbolts.
And by God's death we swear, thou foul-mouthM
That James's empty threats but urge us on
To do this justice to ourself and realm.
We'll have no Scotchman dictatorial here —
We'll act as in our wisdom we see fit —
And^you may tell your ill-advis'd young King,
We do defy his vengeance to the teeth.
I come not to wage war against your grace,
But on the contrary to intercede,
And save the life of our unhappy Queen ;
She's too much in your pow'r for me to brave
At such a period England's enmity ;
I little should fulfil my master's will,
Did I say ought that could accelerate
The bursting of the storm o'er Mary's brow :
Whilst the Queen lives, I represent the lamb.
An humble suppliant at your gracious feet ;
And if I threat, my threat is imbecile,
So long- as Scotia's princess breathes the air . —
Your grace may turn me with a very straw,
Whilst on that straw depends our mistress' life :
But yet, beware how ye remove the charm,
That gives the wolf, the lamb's habiliment :
You've now th' advantage, use it temp'rately,
Nor force the wolf to doff his humble guise.
The wolf may doff it whensoe'er he will.—
We stand not here to be dictated to : —
So tell the Scottish King we scorn his threat,
As much as we do scorn his impotence.
Altho' your grace be deaf to rectitude,
Oh ! be not so to nature's gentle voice .
Ye pow'rs above ! inspire my feeble tongue
With eloquence to plead a mother's cause ;
Oh ! plant within my breast the anxious fears,
The filial agony of James, her son ;
That my unworthy voice may echo here,
The pangs, the torments, the heart-rending woes.
Which now distract my youthful sov'reign's soul.
Oh ! picture to yourself, a weeping son,
Who sees his helpless mother on the brink
Of an unfathomable, dark abyss ;
To which, (how culpable soe'er she be)
Misfortune's ruggid hand conducted her.
Behold him vainly stretching forth an arm,
Which cannot reach the frightful precipice :
And to avoid the dreadful, madding sight,
(Her awful plunge into eternity ! — )
Imposes 'twixt it and his frenzied eye
That hand which would preserve a parent's life,
Were it, alas ! less feeble and remote.
Can'st thou imagine such a woful scene,
And yet be silent when a breath will save ! —
I feel — I see thou can'st not — good your grace,
Take him to cogitate o'er this affair :
Act not with such precipitate revenge ; —
Think, if hereafter you the deed repent,
What pangs remorse's whisp'ring voice may bring
Oh ! pause till anger is by reason quell'd ; —
Till charity oppose her argument. —
Let me beseech you by each sacred tie,
Of justice, consanguinity, and love,
But to postpone the sentence for a week.
Not for an hour ! ! — now you're answer'd, Sir.
Here, lords — conduct th' ambassador away —
For we'll no longer parley with the Scot.
ENTER two LORDS in waiting.
Oh ! hear me, hear me for one moment more —
Madam — your majesty
No — not a word — away with him, my lords.
[Exit Keith and one of the lords, the
Queen detains the other lord.
Now speed ye quick to Davison, my lord.
An hour ago we sent him from ourself,
In secret to our good lord chancellor,
Upon some private matter of our own :
Bid him return, and speak with us again,
Before he to the chancellor repairs ;
We've matter for his ear, ere he imparts
Our message to our keeper of the seals.'
(re-enter 1st. lord)
May't please your majesty, the King of France
Has sent o'er Believre from Paris' court ;
Who in the name of that same potentate,
Implores immediate audience of your grace ! —
The King of France now send an embassy !— -
And wherefore ? — does he dare to interfere,
And trouble us with importunity ? —
We'll hear him ere we judge, yet do suspect
His message doth concern the Queen of Scots.
Bring him before us ;
Still we'll not be moved
By any intercessions ; but defy
All who shall dare to meddle with our will.
What is thy message from our brother France ?
May't please your grace, his majesty of France
Sends greeting to your highness, and fair love,
Beseeching you will condescend to hear
His voice in favor of the Queen of Scots ;
The beauteous Mary, Dowager of France ;
Who by report is doom'd to suffer death
For having leagued against your sacred life,
And the tranquillity of England's realm.
The merits of the case are quite unknown,
Unto his christian Majesty of France,
Who therefore, for the sake of argument,
(Tho' truly dubious of Mary's guilt)
Doth hold her guilty as supposed to be ;
Say then she's guilty — well, tho' so she be,
Doth that empower England's majesty
To treat as subject, one who is a Queen ! —
To bring to trial, and condemn to death,
A foreign potentate ! a dame of France ?
Why never in the history of time
Was such an outrage to the dignity !
The privilege ! the sacred-claim of Kings ! —
And to preserve the honor of the French
From such a foul and ignominious stain,
(For it might argue that the Queen of France
Was vassal to the English monarchy)
Doth our most christian King now condescend
To send entreaties to your majesty,
To spare, for these and other cogent rights,
The threaten'd life of this unhappy Queen :
Whom, he most fervently implores your grace,
To pardon for the crimes she's charg'd withal.
We little did expect the King of France,
Would dare to interfere with England's laws ;
And will not answer to his embassy,
Further than to assure his majesty,
We'll act as we do list in this our realm,
Without regard to any King on earth.
Am I to bear this message to the King,
Because he condescends to supplicate ?
His supplication will prove all in vain—
Has he to learn that Queen Elizabeth
Will act, as doth become her, for herself;
Nor listen to the futile arguments
Of such as are less competent to judge
Of what is legal in the English realm.
I am not sent to argue with your grace ;
Nor to discuss the English code of laws ;
And tho' might much be urg'd in this affair,
Touching the law of nations, from the which,
Nor England, nor any land is free ;
Yet am I silent on that forceful theme :
I come alone a mediator from France,
To beg the life of France's captive Queen.
And do most solemnly implore your grace,
By ev'ry bond of nature and of blood,
So to compassionate your prisoner,
As to refrain from putting into force,
The dreadful sentence, England's policy,
Has, tho' in error, judg'd it meet to pass.
We doubted not, altho' we spoke in haste,
Our brother France's firm alliance, Sir ;
And were but jealous of our regal rights,
When we his message treated slightingly.
But since it now appears by those last words,
He doth not meddle with our government ;
But private motives, not political,
Induce him to compassionate our foe,
And thus to intercede in her behalf;
We send our greeting to our brother France,
In answer to his greeting sent to us ;
And do therewith declare, ambassador,
That nothing could afford us more delight,
Than to do pleasure to his majesty ;
But we regret that in the present case,
Our safety doth forbid us to consent :
And doubtless when he weighs the matter well,
, He'll see it in the light we do ourself.
We could say much V extenuate the deed ;
Did we not deem it derogation, Sir,
For us, an independent potentate,
To condescend to utter half a word,
To justify us to a foreign prince ;
Therefore return, and bear this message back,—
That England's Queen can no remonstrance hean
From any crowned head in Christendom ;
Which may impeach her high supremacy :
And now would hold her rights divine, infringed
By France's interference, knew she not
The motive which induced his embassy.
Yet but consider, please your majesty
We will not hear another word, Believre. .....
I've yet a hope, and will that hope express,
Ere I depart from England's friendly shore :
That tho' your majesty disdains to hear,
The mediation of the King of France ;
Yet in your privacy you'll think thereon :
And tho' unbiass'd, are resolv'd to act,
Will suffer it to bear a place in mind ;
And thus, tho' you refuse to recognize
The right of France to interfere therein,
From motives touching your high dignity ;
The independence of your grace's crown ;
And the prerogative of England's Queen ;
Still trust your ear will not be clos'd against
The whispers of his highness' embassy.
We will not hearken to remonstrances,
Let them proceed from whomsoe'er they may :
And yet we do repent our eager haste,
In drawing up this warrant for her death ;
And we'll not have the seals affix'd thereto.
Why does not Davison obey our word —
^Tis full an hour since we summon'd him.
Where are my lords in waiting ? — who's within.
ENTER A LORD.
Repair with all meet diligence, my lord,
To Davison, our secretary's ear ;
Bid him return, and hear our further word,
Ere he confers with our high chancellor.
We are distracted 'midst so many cares —
Our people draw us one way, and our mind,
Our sex, and our integrity, another.
Whether is't better for this Queen to die,
Or still to live a thorn that pricks our side ? — ■
Her death would cure us of one malady,
But yet might gender us another sore :
And which were worst, the proof alone must show.
We can at any time remove the one,
(This warrant is at once a remedy ; — )
But having ta'en so desperate a course,
Can ne'er recal the poisonM regimen,
Whose drugs may breed a more destructive ill :
And thus are we bewilder'd how to act,
Amid'st such interests incongruous :
And torn by those conflicting arguments,
Which our deep policy in turn suggests.
Well — this is greatness — this — but here he comes :
And by our faith he comes right leisurely.
Methinks ye dally to obey our call, —
Twice have we sent a secret messenger ! !— -
I was about your majesty's commands,
And little dalliance has been therein ;
Pve acted, as your grace will shortly see,
With all due care and punctuality.
Thou hast not been unto the chancellor ? —
I crave your majesty's excuse thereon —
The warrant has the seals, an' please your grace.
Now by our soul, thy haste outstrips all need.
Thou hast in this been too precipitate.
Howe'er, we will conceal the instrument,
And keep it by us, lest emergency
Should call for it's immediate services.
Give us the deed.
May it please your highness,
The council have thought fit to keep the deed.
The council, Sir ! — the council keep the deed ! —
Recall those words — they are high treason, friend.
My royal mistress, if Pve acted wrong,
Most earnestly I do for pardon crave.
But meaning for the best, and heedful still,
Of my all gracious sov'reign's interests;
Weighing the danger that besets your life,
And the united pray'rs of all the realm ;
Seeing it meet, your grace's ministers
Should now protect your sacred majesty,
From ills, your grace will not protect yourself;
Urged by my love and my allegiance,
It may be, I my duty have outstep'd ;
But, for the good and safety of your grace ;
The weal of England ; our reformed faith ;
Your loving people's health and lives, my liege ;
And ev'ry loyal and religious tie ;
I judg'd it, after much deliberation,
Prudent to go beyond your highness' word ;
And take the sage opinion of the state,
In this important business : and show
My fealty, and devotion to your house,
By a proceeding which these times demand ;
Tho' which might other circumstances blame,
And subject to your grace's just rebuke
Thou meddling traitor ! — thou shalt pay for this—
But let us curb our indignation — say —
What dared the council, Sir, presume to do ?
I am undone, if the Queen's now sincere !—
The council did resolve, an' please your grace,
To put the warrant into instant force.
Now, by God's death ! thou dost not say so, Sir —
Or if thou dost, that word shall be the last,
Thou e'er shalt utter in thy sov'reign's ear —
What ! — in defiance of our high command ;
Our strict injunctions as to secrecy ;
Regardless of our many favors past ;
At certain risk of favors yet to come ;
At peril of our anger and revenge ;
And in contempt, in brief, of ev'ry tie
Of duty, honor, confidence, and love,
Betray us, and our secret, to the realm !
What ! — carry the warrant to the council's eye !
Perfidious hypocrite ! — out — out, we say —
A dungeon shall henceforward be thy doom — >
There shalt thou languish out a life of woe,
Or die the death a traitor ought to die.
No pow'r shall shield thee from our just revenge —
We'll have thee fined ten thousand pounds at once ;
And tho' the payment, thee and thine reduce,
To want, to beggary, to nakedness ;
It shall be levied to a very mite,
And not a stiver be remitted thee —
And for the council — they shall share thy fall —
Or if they 'scape like degradation. Sir,
Their punishment shall be apportioned less,
Only to stamp the greater traitor — thee —
With an increase of shame, and infamy.
Our star-chamber shall look to thine offence.
And if our ministers approach our sight,
It shall be done at peril of their place ;
We'll make them feel our indignation, Sir,
And if they dare to intercede for thee,
Let them then look to it, their doom's decreed.
Oh ! they shall tremble for their insolence ! —
As, on their own responsibility,
They have presum'd to play the part of Queen,
We'll make them pay us for our borrow'd name ;
And both in purse, and person, shall they feel,
The penance of usurp'd authority.
But whilst we stand thus idly raging here,
These traitor-knaves to Fotheringay proceed ;
And ere we can their journey intercept,
This deed of blood will be completely done.
We will o'ertake them, tho' it cost our life —
To horse — to horse — there's treason, murder up,
Our very sov'reignty is trampled on —
By rogues, our sole prerogative infring'd —
And we but made a puppet of a Queen,
Unto the end, that these our ministers,
May do their deeds of death in our name.
Vengeance, just Heav'n ! upon these murderers ;
And shield us from the hateful obloquy
Their treacheries would brand our reign withal.
We will away to save her if we can — ■
But not before our orders are obey'd,
Which shall to thy officious cares award
Those marks of grace, our gratitude doth owe.
Now all is over, and my doom is seal'd —
The Queen is too incensed to reason hear.
The council will in vain support my cause :
Their promises to justify the act,
Will not avail in this extremity : —
And in good sooth, they'll find enough to do,
If they procure their own indemnity.
Therefore farewell to fortune's future grace :
I see her frowns upon my mistress' brow.
It is enough to have been a favorite
To raise a host of unseen enemies,
W ho now will wag their tongues, and laugh to scorn
The wretch whom once they courted — be it so —
I must submit with the best grace I may :
And let my fate an awful warning be
To all who bask upon a prince's smile.
We tread on gunpowder who favor find
In eyes of such capricious tyranny ;
And when we think we stand the most secure
The very brand is lighting at our feet.
I should have seen, this Queen's high favor sprung
From interested views, nor dared to think
Her favor, and her friendship personal.
Fool that I was to meddle, or debate,
Or act beyond the letter of command :
For well I see, tho' now alas ! too late,
That tho' the deed I've done befriends my Queen ;
And hath accomplished that which most she wish'd;
Yet for the sake of sparing her own fame,
And shielding her renown from obloquy,
I shall be sacrificed without remorse.
Yes, she will immolate her subject, friend,
Her faithful servant, and her favorite,
And do a manifestly cruel deed,
To shield her from imputed cruelty.
I am the victim, by whose punishment,
She'd bring a false conviction to the world ;
Shrouding deception in deception's garb,
To hide the monster in the monster's self.
But it will not avail, for tho' I fall,
Too evident's the flimsy artifice,
E'er to deceive the minds unprejudiced,
Of that posterity, for whose esteem,
She is content to forfeit honesty.
But hark ! I hear the sound of steps — they come — »
I'll meet them, for I know their import well ;
And show at least to this ungrateful Queen,
That I can meet my fate with constancy.
QUEEN MARY AND GORDINA,
(the latter weeping)
Take comfort sweet Gorclina, weep no more — ■
But rather with thy mistress rejoice,
And hail my prospect of deliverance
From scenes of misery, to scenes of bliss.
The little time Pve left for this vain world,
Must not be spent in idle sorrowing :
For tho' Pve made my will and testament,
And settled all my temporal affairs ;
There still are higher duties to perform :
And short indeed's the period allow'd
To make my peace with heaven—even now
Methinks I hear the preparation's hum ;
The sound of hammers and the dread array
Doom'd to conduct me to eternity.
Look up my maiden, bend thy willing knee,
And let thy prayers with mine ascend on high,
And reach together the omniscient ear.
Dry up those tears Gordina — let us pray —
Alas ! I have no words — my sighs alone
Can heaven invoke for your eternal bliss.
Ah ! madam with what constancy your grace
Endures the evils you are doomed to bear :
Now on the very border of the grave,
Still we behold you tranquil and resignMt
Would I could meet a natural demise,
With half the calmness you a scaffold face.
Alas ! — alas ! — that I should see this day —
Why was I born to witness such a scene ! —
To teach an awful lesson for thy good —
Humble thy pride, and wean thee from this world.
Behold the emptiness of earthly pomp ! —
The insecurity of human good ! —
Who entered life with prospects more elate,
Than wretched Mary ? born to wear a crown,
And sway the sceptre of her ancestors ! —
Yet see the fickleness of Fortune's smile —
Where are my crown and royal sceptre now ? —
Turned into chains, and to a bloody axe ! —
Yet am I happier than those who die
Surrounded by the pleasures of the world ;
For they regret the joys they leave behind ;
Whilst / rejoice to end my miseries :
They often dread the state that is to come ;
For mid'st the vanities of this strange world,
They've little time to note futurity :
AVhilst Pve been taught, by sad adversity,
To look to heav'n alone for happiness :
And to prepare myself for that dread goal,
From which, prosperity's seductive smile
Is ever wont alas ! to lure the eye.
Come then let's kneel — but little space I've left,
To fill the measure of my penitence.
(they kneel and pray)
She prays — sweet saint! — my very heart's-core
Would I might join her for a moment's space.
But that is not allow'd, for now await
Ev'n at the threshold, those unmanner'd hounds
Who clamour for the blood of innocence.
Madam — she hears me not — intent on prayer,
Her gentle ear is deaf to earthly sounds —
Who calls — is it Elvira ? — aye-
Come kneel, and join in hallow'd hymns, our choir.
Would it might be permitted, but without
Awaits the Sheriff Andrews, who demands
Admittance to your grace immediately .
I know his errand — bid him enter, love —
Now may the lord have mercy on my soul.
ENTER SHERIFF ANDREWS.
Madam, the Earls of Shrewsbury and Kent,
Together with the Earl of Derby, now
Await your presence in the castle hall.
I come Sir — well I know your business —
My death's demanded by the protestants.
And I insist it shall be known I die
A martyr to the catholic belief:
I do not wonder at you Englishmen,
Acting to me with this severity,
When I remember you've imbrued your hands,
So often in the life-blood of your Kings.
But hold — Fve here a letter for the Queen,
Which take from me unto her majesty :
It is not to demand my life, good sir,
(Of that I'm weary, and would fain be quit,)
But to request that when my enemies
Are glutted with my unoffending blood,
My body be consigned to those I love.
My faithful servants have from me in charge
To carry it to be interred in France :
There to repose beside my mother's bones,
In regions where the faith is catholic.
(delivers the letter)
It shall be given to her majesty—
And madam now, if it so please your grace,
Your hour at length is come — all is prepared.
I follow Sir — lead to the fatal spot.
She who lived innocent, can fearless die :
My death comes welcome, since her majesty
Wills I should die, but yet I marvel still
I should be thus condemn'd to die ; howe'er
The soul of her would be unworthy far,
Of the fruition of Heavenly joys,
Whose body for a moment in this world,
Could not endure one execution stroke.
And by the holy testament I swear,
I'm innocent of this conspiracy.
(Scene changes to the Great Hall, with the
Scaffold and two Executioners, Sir Andrew
*Melvil, JWastcr of the Household to Queen
Mary, on his knees; and divers of her Ser-
vants, $fc. together with Beetle, Clerk of the
Council to Queen Elizabeth : and others.)
[Enter in Procession, Queen JMary, between
tivo of Sir Amias Pauletfs chief Gentlemen,
Thomas Andrews, High Sheriff, going before
her ; the Earls of Kent, Shrewsbury, Derby,
and Cumberland, Sir Amias Paulett, Sir
Drue Drury, and many other Knights and
(as the Queen approaches)
Ah ! madam, was there ever man on earth
So wretched, as will hapless Melvil be,
When (the sad messenger of heavy woe,)
He shall report his mistress, and his Queen,
Has been beheaded in the English realm.
(weeps and wrings his hands)
Lament not, worthy Melvil, but rejoice,
For Mary Stewart will be soon set free,
From all the evils that have troubled her;
And learn, my faithful servant, from my fate,
This world is but a scene of vanity ;
And notwithstanding, subject to more woe,
Than would an ocean of our briny tears,
Be half enough to sorrow and bewail.
But I do pray thee to report of me,
That I die true to our religious creed ;
And faithful both to Scotland, and to France.
And may the God of Heaven pardon those
Who long have thirsted for my vital blood,
As the hart panteth for the water-brook.
Thou God ! who art the author of all truth,
And know'st the inmost chambers of my thoughts,
Can witness how I ever have desir'd
And pray'd a happy union might exist
Between the Scotch and English dynasty.
Commend me to my son, and do not fail
To make assurances that I in nought
Have acted prejudicial to the crown,
The honor, or the weal of Scotland's state.
Admonish him to still continue firm
In friendship, and in league with England's Queen.
And for thyself, good Melville, see that thou,
Art faithful to him in thy services.
So now, dear Melvil, fare thee well, kind friend.
Once more, farewell,
(weeps and kisses him)
and in thy orisons,
Do not forget thy mistress, and thy Queen.
(taming to the lords)
And now, my lords, I have some few requests,
Which I most earnestly entreat you'll grant.
First, that a sum of money, known to you
Sir Amias Paulet, be bestow'd on Charles,
My faithful servant : and that all my friends
May have the legacies I have bequeathed,
In this my will, and latest testament.
Moreover, let them be entreated kindly, Sirs,
And safely sent to their own countries.
Now this to do, I do conjure you, Lords,
And humbly beg in name of charity.
The sums to which your grace doth now allude,
I am aware of; and thereon rest sure
There is no need your highness should suspect
The non-performance of your testament.
There's yet one more request I have to make. —
I do beseech your lordships will permit
My poor distress'd domestics may be near,
And present at the execution stroke ;
Their hearts to witness, and their eyes behold,
How patiently their Queen will suffer death ;
And thereby make relation to the world,
(When they return to their own countries)
How I shall die a faithful catholic.
EARL OF KENT.
What you request, 'tis not convenient
Should be acceded, by your grace's leave ;
For did we grant it, 'tis most probable
That some would utter speeches, or behave
So as to be most grievous to your grace,
And also most unpleasant to ourselves ;
Whereof before, we've had experience :
For were such access now allow'd, your grace,
They might not scruple forthwith to perform
Some of their superstitious trumperies ;
Tho' it were but to draw their kerchiefs forth,
And dip them in your highnesses high blood :
Whereto it were not meet to give consent ;
Tho' I be dead, yet I my word will pledge
They'll not incur your lordship's blame therein.
They will do nothing worthy your reproach.
Alas ! poor souls, their hearts it will relieve,
To bid their mistress a long last farewell.
Moreover, in respect to womanhood,
I hope your sov'reign, who's a virgin Queen,
Will now vouchsafe to grant, that I may have
Some of my people with me at my death.
Ay, and right well I know, the Queen hath not
Commissioned you to such severity,
But that ye greater courtesy might show
Than this which now 1 humbly do entreat,
Unto a woman of far meaner rank,
Than Mary, both of France and Scotland Queen.
EARL OF SHREWSBURY.
Madam, we cannot grant what you request,
EARL OF DERBY.
To do it, would be injuring, your grace.
Her majesty would not consent thereto.
I am the cousin of fair England's Queen,
Descended of the blood and lineage
Of royal Henry, seventh of that name :
By marriage, am I also Queen of France ;
As likewise, the anointed Queen of Scots :
Why am I treated with this disrespect ! —
Perhaps your lordships will consult thereon.
It may be meet to gratify her grace.
(The Earls of Kent $• Shrewsbury withdraw
a little to consult in private)
(to her servants)
And now, kind friends, a long and last adieu.
Farewell to all, but first to those whose eyes
May not behold their mistress's decease.
For you, my maidens, Til reserve a kiss,
As I do hope from what these lords may say,
To claim once more your faithful services.
(they iveep — the two Earls come forward)
The Earl of Shrewsbury's prevaiPd, your grace.
By his permission, we've resolvM to grant
Six of your servants to attend your death.
Til to the Queen excuse my brother Kent,
Should he in this incur her just reproach.
Thanks, gentle lords, in this I am well pleas'd,
And to the Saints will put up pray'rs for you.
My dearest Melvil, you then shall be first ; —
And my Physician, and my Surgeon next ; —
And yonder hoary veteran, the fourth ; —
And the two maidens of my chamber last ;
And yet tho' last, not least in my regard :
Come then around me, and from Mary learn
How easy 'tis for innocence to die.
To you whose eyes may not behold this sight,
Once more a long — eternal— last farewell ! !
( the rest of her attendants withdraw, making
And you, sweet friends, receive this parting kiss,
This only gage of love I've left to give.
(kisses those who remain)
Now then kind heaven, thy halcyon bowers
I hail in dread exchange for earthly woes.
(mounts the Scaffold)
Where's my confessor ? — where the holy saint
Whose shrift prepares me for eternity ? —
Your grace is not allowM such mummery. —
And I beseech ye lay aside that cross,
Nor hold your God in hand, but in your heart.
Alas ! my lord, 'twere difficult to hold
Such object in this frail, unworthy hand,
Nor feel in heart the dreadful sufferings
Which here are represented to the eye.
If you require a holy man, behold
Good Dr. Fletcher, Peterborough's Dean,
Who will exhort your grace to penitence,
And teach you how to worship God in truth.
Insult me not with importunities
To change my true belief for heresy.
But rather, if you do refuse me shrift
From one of my own righteous brethren.
Be my death warrant read without delay :
And I shall face, as well may innocence,
The throne of my dread judge in confidence :
Well knowing in his mercy he will grant
That absolution you deprive me of;
And visit on the heads of those, the sin,
By whom the sin may be occasioned.
Then forthwith forward come without delay,
Clerk of the council of her majesty,
And read the warrant for her grace's death.
(Beale advances and reads the death-warrant)
Let all men know by this our high decree,
That we Elizabeth of England Queen ;
Defender of the faith ; &c,
Do by these presents authorise the death
Of Mary Stuart, sometime Queen of Scots,
And widow of the King of France deceast ;
On whom our peers and judges have thought fit
For certain crimes and misdemeanours high,
To pass the last dread sentence of the law :
Which sentence by this warrant we confirm,
And do hereby direct be put in force :
Witness our signature and royal seal,
Given this February, day the first ;
And in the Year of our redeeming Lord,
One Thousand and Five Hundred, Eighty-six.
the people (after the warrant is read)
God save the Queen ! — God save Elizabeth !—
Let me entreat your highness, hear in me
The voice of heaven calling you to grace ;
Nor die a bigot to that erring faith,
Whose blasphemous absurdities exclude
Its hapless victims from beatitude
And let me pray you, Doctor, to forbear
To waste in needless exhortation, words
Which will pass o'er me like the empty wind :
For I am firm, and die in the true faith.
Be not thus obstinate, unthinking Queen ! —
Nor madly rush into perdition's gulph :
Let me beseech you in the Saviour's name,
By ev'ry sacred argument and prayer ;
By ev'ry promise found in holy writ ;
By Christ's cross, passion, bloody-sweat, and death :
And by those holy martyrs, who in flames
Went forth to Heaven, to implore the Lord,
To change the hearts of sinners such as thee ;
Now to abjure thy false idolatry,
And ask for mercy through our Lord himself.
My ears are deaf to such arch heresy —
Abomination do I hold thy words—
And tho' I am compelled to list thereto,
Yet — "get behind me Satan" — will I say.
Look down, oh Lord ! upon this blasphemer.
Grant her that grace her sins but ill deserve :
And in thy mercy turn her hardened heart,
That in this hour of death and punishment,
Repentance save her from eternal woe.
Oh ! God our Father, thou whose sacrifice
EARL OF CUMBERLAND.
Cease, cease good Dean — thy prayer is vainly
The Queen but mocks ye with idolatry.
Mark how she kisses still the crucifix ? —
Oh God ! look down on Christ's afflicted church,
And may thy speedy help relieve her woes :
Oh ! turn the hearts of all foul heretics,
And above all of Queen Elizabeth :
And grant she may henceforward serve thee right :
Oh ! may she prosper, and the Holy Ghost
Inspire her bosom with true penitence ;
So that she may abjure her sinful creed,
And by a recantation save her soul.
And further grant, oh Saviour of the world !
Peace and prosperity to James my son ;
Grant him long life, and ev'ry earthly good :
And send he may, how wandering soe'er,
Die, like his mother, in the true belief:
Who, tho' herself a sinner, dies in hope
Of being saved by Jesus' precious blood ■
At foot of whose bless'd crucifix, she now
Doth offer an atonement in her own.
Again I do beseech ye, lay aside
The adoration of these trumperies.
Oh ! God avert thy wrath from this frail land,
And grant to it forgiveness of its sins :
Yea, blessed Lord ! pardon its heresies,
As I do pardon now those enemies
Who long have sought, and have obtained my
And may it please thee in thy mercy, Lord,
Convert to faith the hearts of all the realm.
And all ye saints ! now intercede for me,
Before the throne of our Redeemer Christ.
And even as the blessed Jesus' arms
Were here out-stretched upon this crucifix,
So in his mercy do I now beseech
He to receive my soul will condescend,
And grant me absolution for my sins.
(the two Executioners kneel to her)
Madam, your pardon we do supplicate.
Tis our duty, not our will, deputes us
To that dread office for which here we stand.
Your grace's blood should not be on our heads,
Altho' our hands are stain'd by it withal,
Therefore your highness' pardon we implore ;
As having had no share to bring you here.
I do forgive you both, with all my heart :
And trust the death you give shall end my woe.
(to her maids)
And now my maidens, come ye and perform
The last sad duty I shall e'er require.
(her women with the assistance of the Execu-
tioners now prepare her for the block, and
one of the latter takes an Agnus Dei from
Oh ! take not that, good friend, it is my wish
My women keep it for me in my name :
And for it's value, if you give it them,
It shall be paid, and over paid in gold.
(he gives it to the women]
Now do not lay your hands so rudely here —
Give me those sleeves, they shall go on again —
Yet be not angry, I am loath to chide —
But never heretofore did I undress
In presence of so large a company ;
Nor was attended by such grooms as you.
W ell ! — now I am ready — sweet Elvira,
And ever lov'd Gordina, fare thee well.
(they burst into a paroxism of grief )
Hush ! hush ! — you will offend me if you weep —
Dry up those tears, rejoice and pray for me ;
Tomorrow shall I be a Saint above :
Yea, I do hope the manner of my death ;
The evils of my earthly pilgrimage ;
My penitence, and constancy in faith ;
Together with my innocence of that
For which unjustly I'm condemned to die,
Shall make atonement for my other sins ;
And cancel for me, purgatory pains :
Therefore rejoice — my troubles end to day.
(she crosses and kisses them)
Now then go pray to ev'ry Saint above,
Nor mourn for that, you ought to hail with joy.
(turning to JUelvil and her other men servants
who are weeping)
Weep not, good Melvii — does your mistress weep ?
Behold her firm, and full of cheerfulness — ■
Learn courage from a female sufferer :
Nor yield to unavailing wretchedness ;
Which only is offensive to the Lord :
By whose decree, and for whose honored cross,
I die like him, a Martyr to the Truth.
Now once again, adieu — God bless you all —
Go — pray for my salvation to the last.
(the women here bind a handkerchief over her
In te Domine confido,
Ne confundar in eternum
(she lays her head upon the block)
In manus tuas Domine !
(the Executioner raises the axe, and the curtain
Emr of mt tit dW&-
W. VERRALL, PRINTER, ANN STREET, WORTHING.
Page 20, Line 13, for adour, read odour.
_ 35 j — 16, for ere, read e'er.
_ 6i ? 25, for Gorges, read Georges.
_ 77 ' _ 20, for With that which us to your highness' ear, read
With that which brings us to your highness' ear.
_ 115, — 16, for drugs, read dregs.
Deacidified using the Bookkeeper process.
Neutralizing agent: Magnesium Oxide
Treatment Date: May 2009
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